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In a study conducted by MGH Marketing, 77% of consumers reported they are likely to visit a restaurant’s website before they dine in or order takeout and delivery, making a restaurant website a vital tool in your marketing strategy. But how do you drive traffic to your business’s online ordering site? 

We’re sharing our top 10 tips for promoting your online ordering site so that you can get more orders, increase your revenue, and build a loyal customer base. 
Don’t have an online ordering site? Check out our article, How to Find the Best Restaurant Online Ordering System, to learn what to look for when evaluating online ordering site providers.

10 tips for promoting your online ordering website 

1. Integrate your online ordering system into your website

People love convenience, and online ordering allows customers to make informed orders without standing in line. Customers are already eager to place orders. You just have to show them how.

If you already have a business website, you must integrate your online ordering system into your website so that you can capture orders directly from your customers. To get an idea of what that looks like, check out how the restaurant Pita Corner uses an “Order Online” button to make it crystal clear how customers can get their hands on some sustainable seafood.

Fish's homepage menu with an eye-catching 'order online' button that directs the user to their online ordering website menu

2. Connect your web ordering link to your Google My Business account

Have you ever searched takeout and delivery options on Google and wondered why some restaurants pop up, and others don’t? There’s a method to the madness, and it has a lot to do with opting in. 

All you have to do is list your restaurant with Google My Business — and it’s free.

Simply claim your Google My Business listing, fill in details such as your hours, add some photos and posts (promos and special events, for example), and add your restaurant web ordering address so searchers can go straight to your menu and order directly from you.

3. Promote your online ordering website on social media

Over one-third of diners in the U.S. follow restaurants on social media, and 39% of those who do hit the follow button so they can figure out whether that’s the restaurant they’ll be ordering from next.

Include your online ordering site link on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles, and when customers fall in love with your pho or ribeye cheesesteak, it’ll be easy as pie to place an order. You can also use social media to run special promotions targeting virtual customers — just another way to make social media work for your business.

Google is important, but don’t forget about sites like Foursquare and Yelp that emphasize eating locally. It’s essential to build out your profile on both channels and include a link to your online ordering website alongside key info like restaurant hours and appetizer specials.

Even better, both Yelp and Foursquare figure into Google’s search and ranking algorithms, so listing your restaurant on those two platforms can help raise your profile on Google. To increase the likelihood, your restaurant’s name will be near the top of the results when consumers search for your cuisine type in your area, incorporate some expert Yelp SEO tactics like:

  • Uploading photos
  • Responding to reviews
  • Incorporating keywords into your business description
  • Choosing relevant listing categories
  • Encouraging backlinks

5. Use email marketing to promote your online ordering capabilities

Email marketing has a return on investment of 4200%. In other words, companies that properly utilize email marketing generate an average of $42 for every $1 they spend. That’s huge.

For restaurants, email marketing is a way to continue the conversation with customers. They visit your website, sign up for your email list, and then they become warm leads ready to be converted.

Send emails letting customers know about special events, promotions, seasonal menu changes, that new chef you just hired, basically anything of interest. And include the link to your online ordering website every single time to increase your order volumes- and profits!

6. Partner with local influencers and food bloggers to get the word out about your restaurant’s web ordering menu

Before Kevin Shin launched NYC’s King Wang restaurant, he was a finance expert who managed billions in investments. When the pandemic hit and businesses across the hospitality industry struggled, Shin found a solution: virtual restaurants.

To make his virtual restaurant idea a reality, Shin tapped into influencers who already had a cult following. First, he invited influencers to eat at King Wang for free. Then he asked them to share their experience with their followers and help get the word out about his concept. Through his influencer strategy, Kevin Shin increased awareness for his virtual restaurant, which resulted in more online orders. 

Image of Chef Judy Joo consuming a King Wangs sandwich

Wondering how to tap into food bloggers and influencers to drive traffic to your online ordering site? Here are six tips to get you started: 

  • Make the same strategy work for your restaurant by connecting with local influencers.
  • Search Instagram for food bloggers in your area
  • Tap into relevant hashtags like #foodinCITY and #CITYeats
  • Choose influencers who have high engagement on posts rather than those who just have a large following
  • Message bloggers/influencers directly using a personalized message (no generic/group D.M.s)
  • Make your pitch attractive and mutually beneficial — Why should they promote your restaurant’s online ordering platform?

7. Tap into local SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of strategically preparing your website or other online content to be picked up and prioritized by search engines. Most SEO strategies concentrate on Google, and local SEO is vital for businesses like restaurants focusing on a smaller geographic area. 

When you search for a restaurant on Google, typing something like “Mexican restaurants” into the search box, Google will attempt to autocomplete with phrases like “near me.” That’s local search at work. Your Google My Business page is part of local SEO too, but you’ll need to go even further by:

  • Setting up and/or claiming your businesses pages on social media
  • Encouraging customers to leave reviews and offer up ratings
  • Listing events on local event sites
  • Optimizing for voice and mobile search
  • Linking to your restaurant web ordering site

8. Cross-promote your restaurant’s online ordering platform with local businesses

There is strength in numbers. Band together with neighboring businesses to cross-promote and take advantage of each other’s customer bases.

This can be as simple as offering discounts to your partner’s clientele using a code they send out via email marketing or post on their social media page. Then you do the same in return. Ask that all posts include a link to your online ordering system too, and you make life easier for consumers who want to order at eat ASAP.Learn how The Council Cafe leveraged partnership marketing and in-store events to reach new customers.

9. Promote your online ordering site in-store through signage and flyers

Consistency is vital when you’re branding your restaurant and trying to turn consumers into loyal customers.

Diners need to understand what your business is, what it offers, and how to buy into that concept once they’re ready to crack open their wallets. Digital marketing is a big part of raising awareness, but so are in-person tactics like posting signs and handing out flyers.

Include the fact that you offer online ordering on your marketing collateral and signage whenever possible. Window clings, table tents, chalkboard easels on your front sidewalk — it all works. There are plenty of affordable marketing tools like Canva and Pexels that help you create custom graphics and signs in minutes.

You can even look into getting your own Q.R. code to put on printouts so customers can scan the code and immediately bring up your website without having to type out a single letter.

10. Run a promotion through your restaurant online ordering platform

People love a good deal. That’s why promotions and discounts are a great way to attract new customers and to encourage existing ones to order more food more often. Whether you’re looking to widen your audience or boost incremental sales (or both), running targeted promotions is a powerful tool to help achieve those goals.

For that to happen, sign up with an online ordering website that provides free-to-use Promotions and Loyalty Tools, like Grubhub Direct

  • Offer first-visit promos to customers making their first order via your Grubhub Direct website
  • Create spend-based loyalty promotions that reward customers for every dollar they spend or when they reach a specified spending threshold
  • Create visit-based loyalty promotions that reward customers for a certain number of orders

Ready to reach your customers–on your own terms?

Customers are not only open to ordering food online. They crave more options and convenient access to get their favorite meals delivered faster. Integrating an online ordering system into your restaurant’s existing business plan is like pouring gasoline on a strategy that’s already sparking. 

Grubhub Direct gives you the power, tools, and expert guidance to make the most of what you already have and attract new customers to make your restaurant the best it can be.

Learn more about Grubhub Direct here.