Hungry customers in quarantine are turning to restaurants that offer takeout and/or delivery. In fact, some of our customers saw their most lucrative day ever in the past month. How? By coming up with creative marketing strategies focused on takeout and delivery services.
Here are a few creative examples to inspire you to maximize your online ordering and increase your revenue.
Enable (and promote!) curbside pickup
Curbside pickup not only protects your employees and your customers by minimizing foot traffic inside your restaurant, it’s quickly becoming the favorite order type for customers. With curbside pickup already built-in UEAT’s online ordering system, restaurants can quickly set up the feature and promote it on social media.
Paramount quickly set up curbside pickup on their online ordering platform. Customers simply call the restaurant when they arrive and an employee safely puts their order in the open trunk. Curbside pickup was already gaining traction in the United States and with COVID-19, this order type is bound to be quite popular worldwide.
Sell grocery items or other products you wouldn’t typically sell
Convenience is key, especially now. Think of offering products your customers would typically buy elsewhere but might not during the current crisis. By offering a basket filled with candies, smoothie ingredients or any food you would buy at the grocery store, you are giving yourself the chance to increase your sales on high profit margin items.
The first thing visitors see when visiting Mandy’s website is a bold statement: “Grocery boxes now available for pickup & delivery!!”. By piquing the interest of visitors right away, they are more apt to add one of these tasty grocery basket when they place their order (“while I’m already ordering food, why not treat myself and save time since I don’t have to go to the grocery store”).
Offer a unique (home) dining experience
Think of giving your customers the chance to recreate your in-restaurant dining experience right from their homes. You can offer a meal in a box that is pre-cooked or give them instructions on how to properly prepare your meal.
The historic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac hotel started offering contactless pickup on the weekends for their “from the oven” menu. By including specific instructions on how to properly reheat their 3-course meal, customers looking to experience the best the sea has to offer clearly had the ideal meal in a box option.
Offer a great incentive for your customers to return
Having creative ideas is a great way to have customers in the door: but you should also think of innovative ways to have customers order from your restaurant again. Think about offering something special like a free appetizer or desert and bonus points if you include a handwritten note; “Thanks for your support. Desert is on us. Thanks for your business.”
A Facebook ad from Estrimont Suites & Spa promoting their “just like at the restaurant” meal kit boxes. The bundle for 2 includes: soups of the day, choice of main meal with side, desserts, a bottle of wine and a 100$ gift card. Customers love a good all-inclusive meal and the included 100$ gift card is an added incentive for them to reorder.
Expand your delivery zones
Chic Alors! expanded their delivery zones and waived their delivery fees. The staff has also been relocated to food prep instead of taking order by phone optimizing their operations and increasing the amount of order processed each day.
Scarcity + pre-orders
People love to treat themselves to something nice, especially when it’s scarce. Offering a limited supply meal-in-a-box that is only available by pre-ordering is not only a good marketing strategy, it’s also great for your operations. Since you already know how many boxes you will put up for sale, you can plan ahead how much food and staff you need.
Restaurant La Tanière is a prestigious white tablecloth restaurant. When the crisis hit, the team launched a 3-course meal in a box available only on the weekends. Even if they never offered takeout before, they invited their loyal customers to pre-order online during the week. The results keep exceeding expectations: the 3-course meal boxes are constantly sold out by Tuesday, each week.
Ask your customers for their support
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.”
- Barack Obama
Restaurateurs who use social media or send an email asking customers for their support in this difficult time are seeing unexpected demonstrations of support. Be human and tell it like it is: times are tough for you and your restaurant. Every order counts – “We want to continue to serve our customers, our community. Please support us by ordering your favorite meal or by buying a gift card.”
We’ve seen countless gestures of solidarity in the last few weeks. Ask and you shall receive.
Le Clap – a well beloved privately owned movie theatre launched their online ordering platform so customers could order their favorite snacks to watch movies at home during the pandemic. By asking their loyal customers for their support, Le Clap saw unprecedented sales on their online platform.
If you are operating a specific thematic restaurant, think of offering a creative combo of food + activity so your customers get the full experience at home.
When COVID-19 hit, the team at Randolph knew that their customers still wanted to enjoy their food and discover new games. So they launched a playful combo available on their online ordering platform. The combo includes a full 3 course meal for 2 and the choice of a board game. Even if people can’t physically sit down in their restaurant, they can still take the experience with them home.
More creative marketing ideas
As you can see: raising awareness for your brand and coming up with an creative (and cost savings) marketing strategy is key to generate enthusiasm for your brand and increase your revenue at the same time.