As the world continues to grow, adapt, and evolve, we are all seemingly busier than ever, and seeking time savers and easy hacks to help us solve problems quickly and effectively. This is particularly true for customers looking to enjoy tasty new dishes, but also for the hospitality businesses that serve them.

Customers in this category are often time-poor, and ensuring they can enjoy delicious meals in a fast, effective, and streamlined manner is a real priority for many of them.

Fortunately for your business, we have the solution you need: welcome to the world of direct ordering. This is an innovative change that will allow you to connect to a wider range of customers, keep them happy and well-fed, and help grow your business.

 

What is direct ordering?

 

As the name suggests, direct ordering is a smart initiative that allows your customers to order online from your establishment. It’s a super flexible solution that can really help your business expand and grow to the next level.

It’s also popular with customers; 63% of customers in the United States said that they would prefer to order directly from a restaurant, with just 18% favouring a third-party delivery service. Our recent consumer research supports this, with 62% of people saying they would prefer to order direct when they have the option.

 

In addition to meeting customer preferences, direct ordering comes in a wide range of options…

 

How does direct ordering work?

 

It’s simple. Once your online ordering system is set up and ready to go, customers can simply head to your site, or download an app, and they will be able to access all that you have to offer.

And the best bit? With direct ordering, you’re in control. With a fully branded online ordering system, you control your brand and how you position it to your customers. And you control your orders – including how many you take and when you take them.

 

So what are the benefits of direct ordering for hospitality firms then?

 

1. Better margins for you

One of the main advantages of direct ordering is that it allows you to keep a healthier cut of your profits. Marketplaces charge an average commission of 30%, which is obviously a big chunk.

When you choose to utilise direct ordering, on the other hand, you drastically reduce this,  with Slerp, managed delivery commission is just 6%  Now that’s a serious incentive.

We don’t mean to be dismissive of the merits of third-party marketplaces; they can be great for boosting visibility and attracting new customers.

However, depending on third-party platforms might work best as a short-term solution For long term growth, embracing direct ordering is the better choice.

 

2. Take control of the entire customer journey

One of the main issues with outsourcing anything is that you have to relinquish some control – this is true with online ordering. When you rely on third party marketplaces, you don’t control the customer experience, you don’t collect the data. Direct ordering allows you to quality-check the entire experience from order to delivery, which keeps customers happy and ready to return time and time again.

By taking charge of the online ordering system, you can also reduce the risk of mix-ups with deliveries and orders. Your customers order with you, the order is processed with you, and the order can even be delivered by you (if you choose self delivery). This reduces the chance that something will go wrong.

 

3. Drive loyalty

With direct ordering, you have the opportunity to drive loyalty and repeat orders by regarding the customers who order with you most. Create a loyalty programme that allows you to offer points, or stamps when customers order online or on-premise and watch repeat orders grow. A free item after a few orders.

 

4. Build long-term growth

A key benefit to implementing direct ordering is that you are future-proofing your business, and ensuring you have long-term security through a remote, permanent connection with your customers. No matter the external circumstances, you will still be able to take and fulfil orders, communicate with customers, and keep the wheels turning.

 

Final thoughts

 

Direct ordering is a trend that is here to stay, and is an investment that could seriously upgrade your hospitality business.

Would you like to learn more about the possibilities? If so, get in contact with the Slerp team to kickstart your direct ordering today.

It’s not exactly news that restaurants can be extremely busy places to work in. Your waiters, chefs and other team members are part of a well oiled machine. But, with staff shortages and rising costs, navigating the industry successfully calls for flexibility and innovation. Not only this but consumer preferences and demands are constantly changing. Increasingly, customers like to place orders with their favourite quick-serve restaurant or takeaway online.

With pressures like these, you’re probably keen to know how your restaurant can handle its online orders more efficiently. You might already be accepting online orders through a third-party marketplace app. That’s great, but could you be doing it better?

The short answer is: yes, we think you can. And here are some suggestions for how you might do that.

 

Start selling D2C 

 

Serving large volumes of customers without compromising your standard of service can be difficult. We get that. This is why you should look seriously at digital tools that not only help you take orders, but that help amplify your brand experience.

For customers who are on premise, an at-table order system could help speed up the process of placing an order. It also means you can do more with less staff, and focus the teams that you do have on providing the best experience possible instead of taking orders.

Got local customers who order again and again? Let them skip the queue and ‘click and collect’ on their way past. Already taking online orders through marketplaces? Great! You’ve got a captive audience of customers who are ready to order direct!

 

Think about delivery

 

The most successful Slerp partners give their customers the ability to pre order from their stores, whether that be the day before or several weeks in advance. Not only do pre orders guarantee sales, they allow you as an operator to plan and prep and opens up the ability for larger catering orders.

With Slerp, you can even customise the cut-off schedules for future days (i.e. I need Friday’s orders to cut-off by 1pm Thursday) and have a different menu for future days.

We can make this even easier for you with our composer tool. Say goodbye to spreadsheets and save your team time and a lot of agg with automated production schedules, packing slips and delivery exports for all pre orders. Sound appealing? Speak to our team to find out more.

It’s also worth considering accessibility. How far is your delivery radius currently set up for? Things like nationwide delivery present a serious opportunity to gain some new customers and sales. Do you have a product that’s set up for more than just last mile? We only work with high quality, market leading couriers.

 

Shout about your online ordering options to customers 

 

Once you’re up and running the next step is to start getting those orders in. This will help you justify investing more into this area of your business and achieving greater efficiency in order handling.

And if you want to attract more online orders, you need to take the time to market your ability to accept and process online orders.

There’s so many ways to do this but a great place to start is by including a bold and obvious ‘call to action’ button on your restaurant’s website. Make your customers journey from hungry to ordering quick and easy. Advertise the option of ordering online on your restaurant’s social media profiles, communicate it to your customer via newsletters, and/or invest in paid ads, flyers, and leaflet drops. Anything to get the word out there.

 

Train your employees in your online ordering capabilities 

 

Informing and training your team members, so that they know your restaurant accepts online orders is important. Sounds obvious but if you’ve got multiple stores and a steady stream of new staff it’s not as simple as you may think. You also don’t just want them to know, you want them to ‘sell’ your online ordering capabilities and to promote this to customers – remember, if your customers don’t know, they won’t order direct.

 

Simplify your menus 

 

Sometimes, a large menu can do more harm than good. You may think that you are offering a variety of dishes to your customers, but is that what they want? And does that work for your kitchen?

Take a look at your menu and what’s selling, and focus on those dishes. It’s better to be known for a smaller menu that packs a punch, than a long menu that leaves customers uninspired.

Offering fewer dishes that utilise similar ingredients or cooking methods will also help take the pressure off your kitchen staff and make it easier for them to prep and cook the dishes. So, if you already have a complicated menu, try reducing the number of different types of dishes you produce. Both your customers and your team will thank you in the long run!

Creating dishes only available when ordering direct online is also a great way to push online orders – keep it simple with just one or two ‘chefs specials’ available only online. You could even make this a  daily/weekly chef special. This could give your chef greater freedom and excite your customers with new options (without overwhelming them with all of them).

 

Hungry for more? 

 

Are you ready to discover more about how Slerp could help your restaurant grow it’s online ordering capabilities? It could be the perfect step to power your business’s growth;

 

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.

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