Embracing Summer: Boosting Your Restaurant Sales with Online Ordering

 

As the summer season unfolds with its warm days and lively nights, businesses everywhere must adapt to the shifting dynamics in consumer behaviour. The promise of sunny skies often leads to a surge in outdoor activities, and with that comes an evolution in how customers engage with your restaurant. Whether you’re managing a bustling café, a cosy bakery, or a vibrant bar, leveraging the summer vibe can significantly enhance your sales. Here’s how you can harness the power of summer to grow your online orders and keep your customers coming back for more.

 

1. Skip the Queue with Click and Collect

Summer’s charm lies in its spontaneity. People are out enjoying the warmth, and quick, convenient service becomes more critical than ever. Offering a Click and Collect option allows your customers to order online and pick up their meals without the hassle of waiting in line. This service is not only a crowd-pleaser but also a business booster, giving you the ability to prepare for peak times and manage order volumes efficiently.

Last year, 4 in 10 orders on Slerp were for collection. If you’re not offering Click and Collect, you’re missing out on a substantial slice of sales. For your on-the-go customers, our PressPay feature simplifies the process, allowing them to order in as little as six seconds. Explore how you can integrate this service here.

 

2. Seasonal Specials: Fresh and Inviting Menu Items

As temperatures rise, so does the desire for lighter, refreshing meals. Introduce seasonal specials like crisp salads, energising smoothies, and light bites that cater to the summer palate. Not only do these offerings entice customers looking for something new, but they also showcase your restaurant’s versatility and commitment to fresh, local ingredients. Promote these specials across your digital marketing for restaurants strategy to keep your menu appealing and relevant.

 

3. Optimise Your Menu for the Season

Incorporating local, seasonal ingredients into your dishes not only enhances flavours but also appeals to the environmentally conscious diner. Highlight these ingredients on your menu to attract customers who appreciate knowing the origins of their food. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with new dishes and keep your menu vibrant and exciting.

4. QR Code Ordering for Outdoor Spaces

If you have the luxury of outdoor seating, QR code ordering can streamline your service and enhance the customer experience. By placing QR codes on tables, you allow guests to order seamlessly without interrupting their conversations or waiting for staff. This modern approach also helps you collect valuable customer data for future marketing efforts.

 

5. Family Deals: Catering to School Holiday Crowds

Summer holidays bring families together, and that means more opportunities for dining out or ordering in. Create enticing family deals or bundle options that cater to both kids and adults. With 54% of people seeking more kid-friendly options when ordering, offering smaller portions, healthy choices, and fuss-free dishes can make your restaurant a go-to choice for family dining during the school break.

 

6. Leverage Social Media to Boost Visibility

Social media is a powerful tool to promote your summer offerings and attract new customers. Share vibrant photos of your seasonal dishes, announce special promotions, and engage with your audience to build excitement around your brand. Utilise platforms like Instagram and Facebook to reach a wider audience and drive traffic to your online ordering system.

 

7. Enhance the Outdoor Experience

From deliveries to the park to QR code ordering at your outdoor tables, optimising for outdoor dining is crucial during summer. Encourage customers to enjoy their meals in nature, whether it’s a picnic in the park or a cosy meal on your patio. Make sure your online ordering system is set up to support these experiences, ensuring that your service is as delightful as the summer itself.

 

Seizing the Summer Opportunity

 

Summer presents a golden opportunity to adapt and thrive amidst changing consumer habits. By implementing these strategies, you can weatherproof your sales and make the most of the season. From enhancing your menu with seasonal specials to optimising your online ordering for outdoor experiences, each step helps you cater to the summer crowd effectively. Embrace the sunny days ahead and watch your sales soar as you grow your online orders this summer.

 

54% of people want more kid friendly options when ordering
KAM Media X Slerp
Consumer survey

Read more about Slerp’s delivery.

You could have the best set up online ordering platform with beautiful branding, a quick and easy checkout process for customers and delicious products for them to buy. But if you’re not generating enough traffic, it won’t make a difference.

 

What do we mean by traffic?

Traffic is the number of visitors a website or web page gets. You can track where the ‘traffic’ has come from i.e. did they just google your name? Or maybe they came from a link or an ad on one of your social media platforms.

 

Regardless of how they got there, (although this is important when looking at growth) the main thing you need to know is that in order to increase your sales, you need to be generating enough visits to your website. So here are five things you need to do to increase your traffic…

 

1. Direct links to your online store 

We talk about this one a lot but it’s for a reason. How do you expect anyone to order from you if they can’t find your online store? Priority number one should be making sure you have multiple buttons on your website and links on your social media that send customers directly to your shopping page. Make sure these are in easy to find places i.e. link in bio or at the top of your homepage. It’s also worth keeping the CTA (call to action) something clear like “Order Now”.

 

2. In-store marketing

Just because pretty much everything is digital now does not mean print & physical collateral no longer has a place in your marketing strategy. In fact things like flyering are a low cost, high return activity, with 89% of people remembering receiving a flyer, more than any other form of advertising

 

Connect your in-person customers with your online platform using QR codes that provide a direct link to your website. You can print them onto flyers, loyalty cards and even window decals, so customers can scan and instantly start browsing.

 

If you’re going to do one thing with print, make sure you pair it with some kind of incentive. Flyers that include a discount code are 50% more likely to be kept for at least a week and are more likely to drive sales. 

 

3. Email and SMS

Similarly to our first point, how do you expect customers to order from you if you don’t tell them they can? Email and SMS continue to be incredibly effective methods of communication, for the best results we recommend the following:

 

Pair with a promotion

This doesn’t even have to be a discount, it could be a quick message to let customers know about your new menu or a limited edition product. 

Give your customers FOMO

Putting a time limit on an offer, creates a sense of urgency and fear of missing out, encouraging customers to commit to buying.

Better together

In the case of communications they are really best done in tandem. One of our partners saw a 190% increase in revenue when they used email, SMS and push notifications simultaneously.

 

4. App notifications 

We know what you’re thinking, apps are very expensive, but you’d be wrong. With Slerp you can have your own branded ordering app for as little as £25pm. There are so many pros to having an app, it’s a really smooth ordering process for your customers, goes hand in hand with digital loyalty and when done properly is the perfect way to display your brand and own a spot on your customers phone. We won’t go on too much but if you’re interested in an ordering app you can read more here

 

Back to driving traffic… if you already have your own ordering app or are getting one, make sure you’re utilising app/push notifications. If you’re not sure what this is, they’re the notifications that pop up on your phone home screen from various apps and they’re FREE to send. Unlike SMS and email that can feel a little spammy at times, push notifications are an ‘official’ looking way to communicate an update or promotion. 

 

5. Social media

Last but not least, social media. Whilst this is a pretty obvious one, it’s still worth mentioning. To see results you need to be posting regular and consistent content reminding your customers that they can order from your online store.

 

Try utilising features like story links where you can edit CTAs and send customers directly to your store. Paired with an enticing image of your food and posted just before lunch or dinner time, this can be a great way to boost traffic and orders.

 

We know all about the challenges with delivery fees. There’s no two ways about it, delivery can be really expensive! Customers have been conditioned by marketplaces to believe that delivery fees should be below £3.99, which just isn’t reflective of how much it actually costs. The fact is customers have little to no clue of the expense that delivery incurs for operators, and frankly they don’t care. What they care about is the convenience of having food delivered straight to their door.

Unfortunately for us operators, everyone has their limit and no matter how good it might taste, nobody wants to pay £10 delivery for a £2 croissant. In fact, 58% of people say they would be put off ordering because of high delivery charges, and with the cost of living soaring, customers are more conscious of how and when they spend their money. So how do you bring down the cost of delivery for your customers? We’re glad you asked. We’ve negotiated new delivery rates with the UK’s best courier partners so you can offer delivery at rates that are impossible for your customers to resist.

But before we get over excited with all of the benefits let’s give you a little more context.

 

What are delivery fees and why am I paying them?

 

Delivery rates have always been here. Essentially, they’re the prices set by courier partners to cover the cost of delivery. They vary based on vehicle type (bike, moped, car) and distance travelled. The challenge with delivery rates is that it can be hard to strike a balance between affordability and covering costs so having set rates that take this into account is key.

 

We’ve done the maths

 

In true Slerp style, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. We spent a lot of time looking at the cost of delivery across our partners, and the impact these have on sales. It’s clear high delivery fees are a huge cause of abandoned carts. So we set about trying to work out a delivery rate card that calculates fees that are both customer and operator friendly. It’s taken some number crunching to find the balance between what customers will pay, and what operators can absorb. But we think we might have done it!

What do you need to do? Nothing! This will automatically roll out across your online stores, much to the delight of your hungry customers.

 

Give an inch, take a mile

 

So why are we doing this? Well we touched on it but we can’t sit by and watch our partners lose sales because of high delivery fees. 11% of our cart abandonments happen at the point that delivery fees are added on. Customers hate hidden costs! Fewer cart abandonments = more sales.

We’ve negotiated new, lower delivery costs with top UK couriers to give you the best last mile service. Now, by absorbing a small amount of the cost, you can hit delivery fees that are competitive with that of marketplaces.

This will help you grow your direct ordering platform. The more affordable your service is, the more likely your customers are to order directly from you and the more sales you will bring in. Your customers already love you, they love your product. By bringing down delivery fees they’ll also love your prices, and that makes all the difference.

    

 

58% of people are put off ordering because of high delivery charges

Don’t send your customer into the arms of your competitor 

 

Most importantly, don’t let delivery be the reason you lose out to competitors. 26% of UK shoppers went on to purchase the same item with a different retailer after abandoning a cart. You’ve developed an amazing product, you’ve marketed it, you’ve built your brand and you’ve brought it online. Imagine how you’d feel if the reason you lost out on a sale was over something as small as a delivery fee! When customers are put off by a hidden cost, they don’t just think ‘ahh well’, they go elsewhere. Don’t give them a reason to.

 

Next steps?

 

Tell your customers! These new and competitive delivery fees make ordering from you hard to resist. Where some may have been previously put off by hidden added costs,  you’ve now opened up online ordering to a bigger audience. So get on social media, add it to your newsletter, send an SMS. We don’t mind how you tell them, just tell them.

If you’re determined to make a success of online ordering, (and trust us you should be) affordable delivery is key. If you still need a little more information, we’ve got lots of resources available to help you out. Remember we’re here to support you at every step, with any questions or concerns.

Reading the title of this blog, you might already be thinking yep already offer loyalty. But we’re not talking about the easily lost paper versions that you hand out to each customer as they order. We’re talking about the kind of loyalty programme that actually keeps customers coming back for more… the digital kind.

Before we get into the juicy info, let’s cover the basics. Our digital loyalty programme is essentially the same as a paper stamp card but 10x better. To start with it’s online so your customer can’t lose it or confuse it with 100 other cards they have in their wallet. It’s also interchangeable between web, app and in person. So it doesn’t matter how they order, they collect points either way.

So now we’ve sparked your interest, let us tell you why we reckon digital loyalty is a must have for your restaurant.

 

More engaged customers

 

We all love a freebie. So the thought of getting a coffee for free or 50% of a burger for the small price of becoming a regular is definitely worth it. Think about it, if you find a cafe that you like that offers you your 10th coffee for free, you’re going to keep going back. In fact, we recently paired up with KAM media for a research project and found that 84% of people would be more likely to order from a venue if they had the opportunity to gain loyalty points. That’s a lot of business you could be missing out on!

 

Another reason to order direct

 

We’ve always said there’s a time and a place for a marketplace, they’re great for getting your name out there. But they should not be part of your long term strategy. Direct ordering has a lot more potential for growth and that’s where loyalty comes in. This is a great way to tempt your customers into ordering direct. And trust us, they want to. 62% said they would order direct if they could, they might not even know you offer it! Loyalty helps you stand out from the marketplaces and once your customers branch out, they’ll keep coming back.

84% of people would be more likely to order from a venue if they had the opportunity to gain loyalty points

SLERP X KAM MEDIA 2022

 

More sales

 

We know it’s not a super original point but we also know it will always be an important one. If nothing else, loyalty drives repeat business. You probably already have a loyal band of customers, you just don’t know it. With direct ordering you have full access to all of your data, so you know who’s ordering regularly and you can reward them.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, loyal customers actually spend more, 67% more! So if you want to grow your business and your online presence, loyalty programmes really are a great way to do so.

Crosstown loyalty

 


 

Paper stamp cards suck!

 

We’ll say it one more time for the people in the back. Paper stamp cards really do suck. How many times have you lost one or found an old crumpled one in the back of your jeans? Yep, us too.

Digital is more reliable, more convenient and eco-friendly. Continuously printing them out just for people to lose them really is such a waste of paper. And at a time where we can and should be making as many swaps as possible to make a difference, this seems like a no brainer. Save yourself the money and the trouble and the planet some trees!

Whether you’re a longstanding partner, new to Slerp, or looking to get into direct ordering full stop, a loyalty programme is something you should consider. Stay ahead of the competition and start implementing yours. New to Slerp entirely? Sign up today! Or if you’re already a partner, get in contact with your account manager now.

D2C (Direct to Consumer) is not a particularly new concept in the world of E Commerce. But in hospitality, it still feels like people don’t know a lot about it. So what is it exactly? Essentially it’s a B2C strategy where a business will make, promote, sell and ship a product directly to the customer. And in the case of Slerp, we help you do all that but online.

D2C is only growing and research shows a key reason for this is convenience and ease of use. The modern day consumer wants to buy goods from you in the simplest and easiest way possible. And it doesn’t get much easier than having your food cooked and delivered directly to your doorstep.

In fact, D2C is getting a bit of a rep for being a real positive force in the industry. And not to brag but we were recently dubbed “the ethical one” in Time Out’s round-up of best Deliveroo alternatives for order-in takeaways. So why is D2C so popular?

 

Build direct relationships with your customers online!

 

Unlike with third party platforms, with D2C you know who you are selling to because you have access to your data. Hospitality people are people people! D2C combines the convenience of online ordering with the personal touch of customer service. Allowing you to expand your customer reach without taking the human element out of it. What’s more, you can reward them. Thank your customers with built in digital loyalty schemes and they will keep coming back.

 

Cut out the middleman 

 

It also streamlines the whole process. There are naturally some benefits to market places, and we’re not saying there isn’t a place for them. But D2C simplifies things for the business and the consumer. In fact, 62% of people would actually prefer to order directly if given the option. And you have more control over the process, which is key, this is your online business! With Slerp you can manage your order volumes so you never have to sacrifice on quality. You also take more home. We know how difficult the current climate can be (we’re from hospitality too, so we’re in it with you). With lower commission comes higher margin and that is always a win.

62% of people would actually prefer to order directly if given the option.

 

Bring your brand online

 

You’ve kitted your physical store out to represent your brand, with your logo, your colours and your style. With D2C you can do that online. Slerp sits behind your brand handling the logistics and operations but you would never really know it! We’re naturally biassed but we reckon our software is some of the best looking out there. Now imagine it in your colours…

What’s more, D2C creates a much more personal experience for customers. Just as buying items from your own physical store might be compared to a retailer or department store. Some businesses are taking personalisation to the next level with their own app, opening up yet another D2C channel. You might think that this is a luxury only the big players can afford, but you’d be wrong. With Slerp you can own a spot on your customers phone with a branded app all of your own without the sky high prices.

Deliver what your customers want

 

We’ve talked about how important convenience is to the consumer. Online ordering and D2C were not just a trend in the pandemic. People want the flexibility of being able to eat their favourite food on their sofa (in their pyjamas). D2C doesn’t replace eating out in your restaurant, it saves customers the time and effort of preparing a meal, with 74% of people saying they order in to replace cooking. It really is a fantastic way for restaurants and cafes alike to get online and satisfy their customers.

 

📸 Pavilion Bakery

 

Real, sustainable growth

It’s not a quick fix, D2C provides businesses with the opportunity to grow, and grow sustainably. It’s an affordable and long term solution to success in the online market. It can help businesses open up new channels for sales, reach new customers and ultimately future-proof your business. If there’s anything we have learnt from the last two years, it’s that relying on one method of sales can be risky. At Slerp we adapt to your needs. We work with big and small businesses, multi and single site, to help you grow your business.

So with all that to consider, it’s safe to say that D2C is not only a positive force but one to be reckoned with. It offers a multitude of opportunities for the hospitality industry and if it sounds like something you want to explore, get in touch now.

Your online ordering
journey starts here
Get started now