Measures in place following the onset of the pandemic have severely disrupted the flow of dine-in customers for restaurants across Australia. As a result, people have had to choose between cooking their own food, ordering takeout, or getting food delivered. Changing habits and the pandemic have meant that more and more restaurants are joining the online delivery industry. In the weeks following restrictions in Australia, up to 1700 restaurants joined Deliveroo alone.
This kind of figure shows that the pandemic, alongside steadily changing habits, has been pointing the F&B industry towards a more delivery-centric model. But it also means that there’s significantly more competition in the food delivery world.
How to beat the competition
As food delivery businesses get their source of customers through digital means, you should be keenly aware of how to drive traffic and growth for your business. Physical factors and attributes like location, interior design, staff attitudes will not effectively improve your online presence, as food delivery businesses don’t cater to dine-in consumers. But how you market yourself in the digital space has a tremendous impact.
As a CloudKitchensTM delivery-only kitchen supplier, we’ve had a fair amount of experience when it comes to driving success for food delivery businesses. Here are some of our top tips and tricks.
1. Obtain professional media
Often it’s the customers on the fence about which restaurant to order food from that are most easily influenced. Attractive visuals, appetising food, and other professional media can be all it takes to get them to order food from you. It is imperative that you have clear and attractive-looking photos that direct the consumer towards making a purchase decision.
These photos are completely recyclable and reusable, meaning that you can use them on multiple occasions, via different channels – so long as you don’t change the food on offer.
2. Sign up for best-in-class dark kitchens
With many more restaurants making the transition into the food delivery world, it’s clear that their restaurants and kitchens have room to be streamlined. One – if not the most – efficient way of doing this is by signing up for a dark (cloud) kitchen space.
In short, dark kitchens are a space designed to purely cater towards delivery orders and have no dine-in seating area at all. The idea behind them is to take kitchen organisation and technology to new heights by redefining the way restaurants operate and removing the bottleneck that has traditionally hampered restaurants.
By focusing solely on delivery orders, the only two limits are the number of orders you receive and how fast you can physically cook your dishes. Since you won’t be catering to dine-in customers, you can also select real estate a bit further out of town. Renting a space in places such as residential areas will not only be cheaper but offer you access to a new and constant stream of customers.
3. Continuously modernise and upgrade your website
Since you are an online food delivery service, your digital marketing channels are going to be at the forefront and centre of your operations. One essential aspect of this is to possess a website, acting as a hub for potential promotional materials you put out online and providing consumers with a point of reference through which they can learn more about your food.
Most restaurants do not have an in-house team capable of building such a site, so consulting a specialist agency could be a huge help here. Teams like these can also help optimise your website for search engines, and run specially crafted search engine ad campaigns. All of these will help you to create a website that brings in more traffic and ultimately more growth.
As a bonus, if you’re operating in a delivery-only kitchen, you’ll have the opportunity to grow and develop your virtual brand to connect with the world. This is highly important for restaurants intending to transition into a food-delivery-focused business, as you’ll have no brick-and-mortar storefront.
4. Optimise your pricing based on location demand
Optimising pricing is one of the best ways to increase profitability and your food delivery business’s success. Firstly, different locations will have different rent prices – a significant consideration factor when opening new branches. Using innovative technology and databases, we help our CloudKitchensTM delivery-only tenants analyse whether certain locations lack a specific cuisine. If they do, there’s a good chance you can increase price following simple supply and demand logic. Lastly, by tracking all the information and data from your orders coming in within a period of time, you should see which dishes are the most popular and give you the largest profit margins. Take this information and optimise your pricing to make your restaurant more profitable.
5. Nurture your online brand through social media
Not everyone will be visiting your website. This is a hard fact of the digital world. Plenty of people like to research or follow restaurants on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and having a business page on these platforms allows you to maximise exposure and brand awareness. Both of these can help drive growth.
Additionally, working alongside other key opinion leaders (KOLs – people who have an extensive social media presence), will further enable you to reach out to potential customers.
6. Ensure you maintain an offline presence
Whilst the prevalence of the online medium presents an alluring opportunity for businesses to present themselves more effectively, offline marketing methods should not be completely ignored.
Traditional restaurants have typically relied on banners, signs and other methods to attract potential customers walking down the streets. For an online service, pamphlets, handouts, and business cards can be used to assist in increasing brand awareness. This will help significantly in the long run when it comes to increasing your general customer base.
7. Encourage your customers to leave online reviews
To run a successful food delivery business, you need to understand the value of online reviews. Nurturing and developing a good reputation for your restaurant online will encourage more people to order your food and provide the opportunity to grow.
Online reviews can take the form of star ratings directly on third-party delivery platforms, longer-form reviews on Google, or anywhere else customers will come into contact with your restaurant online.
8. Improve customer retention rate
Once you obtain your customers, you want to ensure that they keep on coming back. This will help you maintain a constant and secure flow of capital into your business. Do this by prioritising food quality and consistency, rewarding customers for their loyalty, improving your restaurant based on customer feedback (which you can get from online reviews), and much more.
9. Utilise email marketing
Whilst often discredited by businesses for being too ‘spammy’, email marketing is consistently ranked as one of the most effective ways of engaging with your consumer base. On the whole, individuals are often attuned to promotional offers and discounts, all of which you can include in your email marketing campaigns. Additionally, it’s a good method of keeping your customers in the loop for any general news or events.
10. Understand what makes your restaurant so liked in the first place
There is always a reason why consumers are consistently attracted to your business. Whether your food delivery business offers the best value for money burgers in town or you specialise in fine dining, you need to find your restaurant’s strength and focus on it. Being a jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none restaurant won’t help you gain a following in the F&B world and will make growth difficult.
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