Friday, March 29, 2024

Want Continuity in Brand Messaging Online Ordering is your Best Option


Food retailers striving for a consistent brand message too edify their relationship with the consumers can find that empowering consumers to utilize their digital platform for online ordering is more effective than in person experience according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.   

That said, it doesn’t matter if you’re a quick-service restaurant chain with hundreds of franchises across the nation or if you’re opening your first restaurant, if you want to survive online ordering is a “must have.” Gen Z and Millennials both are digital natives and reaching them is key to any brands future growth according to Johnson.

In a recent report by DoorDash, they found that 80 percent of American diners believe that they order online the same or more than they did last year. Additionally, the same report found that almost a fifth of consumers actively seek out restaurants they’ve never tried before when ordering online. Tie this with recent findings from the Paytronix 2023 Online Ordering Report, which found digital orders consistently made up 25–30 percent of all orders, as opposed to less than 10 percent in late 2019, and you have a recipe for urgency. If you aren’t part of every notable ordering platform, you’re simply cutting yourself out of the market. Plain and simple. Let’s see what Ray Gibson a product developer at Paytronix Systems (, found and has to say:

“Eager to launch their own digital ordering, many restaurants start off working with the big third-party delivery apps: DoorDash, UberEats, and GrubHub. On paper, it makes sense—that’s where the most people are aggregated. But they quickly find out that outsourcing online ordering to third-party apps is expensive and it essentially hands over their hard-won customer relationships to someone else.

Consequently, many mid-sized brands—restaurants with anywhere from 10 to 100 locations—are creating and implementing their own online ordering systems. In the process, they are discovering that digital ordering is so much more than a way for customers to place orders.

In fact, digital ordering is an essential part of an ongoing conversation between a brand and its guests. By enabling direct, one-to-one communications, digital ordering also introduces things like customer reviews. A brand experiences a profound shift in guest behavior when reviews receive a response, even when the response was generated by artificial intelligence. When guests hear back, even those who leave negative feedback order 23 percent more and leave higher ratings.

Paytronix data shows just how first-party ordering customers differ from their third-party counterparts. They order more, higher-value items more frequently than third-party customers; tend to tip larger amounts; and are more likely to be part of a brand’s loyalty program.

Want to Build a 


Share of Stomach

Online Ordering Helps 

Adding a Loyalty Program

With a digital ordering system in place, quick-service restaurants also begin to accumulate information on their customers. Since digital customers can also be the most loyal customers, adding a loyalty program to expand those relationships makes sense.

At face value, a loyalty program will generate a consistent 18–30 percent lift in visits and spend across industries, brands, segments, and business models. Additionally, the data collected through these programs—from member demographics to visit frequency to most-popular menu items—is invaluable to any brand seeking to understand its guests better. This information can be leveraged to make strategic business decisions and market more effectively.

Once a loyalty program is up and running, a brand needs to build its membership. After all, the more customers they can enroll, the greater participation will be. Paytronix data reveals that restaurant loyalty members not only visit more per month.  They also consistently spend more—with 5 percent larger checks than non-loyalty members. The opportunity looks even stronger for quick-serves operating in the convenience market. Convenience store loyalty programs deliver an even greater lift in check sizes, the most of any segment with loyalty member checks 12 percent higher.

Once the loyalty program is up and running, it becomes a direct marketing conduit to all customers via email or text. Brands can implement initiatives, such as a lapsed customer campaign or birthday offers to encourage guests to visit and spend more. 

The Importance of Mobile Apps

Mobile apps add another dimension to an active customer engagement platform by creating a compelling personal experience that meets customers where they live—on their smartphone. They enable customers to order, make payments, and access their loyalty program account while simultaneously providing the brand with a constant marketing opportunity.

White label apps can be customized so that a brand can get up and running quickly with mobile communications. Once in place, that app delivers true 1:1 marketing by sending targeted offers and incentives (push, pull, SMS, geofenced) to specific customers.

Don’t Forget Third-Party Apps

With a first-party online ordering system, loyalty program and a mobile app up and running, a brand can reprioritize its third-party app from expensive necessity to helpful acquisition tool. The goal transitions into migrating those third-party customers onto the primary guest engagement system.

Brands do this in a variety of ways. For starters, many brands will mark up orders to third-party customers via separate more limited menus. They then send their first-party menus out with those orders. One pizza brand even has specific boxes for third-party orders with “Order direct, save dough” on them. The goal is to drive those customers to order directly from the brand web site or mobile app and to induct them into the loyalty program.

Guest Engagement Surround Sound

How disruptive is it to make these upgrades? Pulling it all together—or just pieces—and a guest engagement platform will make a big impact on a quick-serve’s bottom line.

Continuing to add more layers over time—online ordering, loyalty, a mobile app, and third-party ordering—may take time. The end goal is always to have everything on one platform that is tightly integrated with the POS and third-party apps. Once it’s up and running, the guest engagement platform is key to keeping customers engaged. Back it up with social media marketing and in-store marketing.

Ideally, each piece will be tightly integrated with the POS to ensure each order extends from the guest’s fingertips all the way to the kitchen. Food pictures and menu items should update in unison from the website menu to the third-party apps so that it’s easy to do markups and make changes on the fly.

Brands with a vibrant customer engagement platform find it easy to get and stay close to their customers. It’s also attractive to the franchisees who are so important to expanding the reach of a brand.”

For international corporate presentations, regional chain presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert, and public speaking will leave success clues for all. For more information visit, FoodserviceSolutions.US or call 1-253-759-7869

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