Restaurant Guide: How to Convert Third-party Customers to Direct Ordering?

Third-party marketplaces have become a huge part of the restaurant industry today. Big and small, restaurants all over the world have had to deal with the sweeping changes brought about by these third-party food delivery apps rapidly.

Uber Eats generated $4.8 billion in revenue in 2020. Grubhub currently partners with close to 300,000 restaurants across 4000 cities in the United States. These food delivery giants are constantly finessing their marketing strategies. Every day, they help newer restaurants gain visibility with the help of their strong user base.

Partnering with third-party food delivery apps can indeed be beneficial for restaurants but it’s no secret that this comes with a price. Over time, profits get eaten away by these big corporations, leaving restaurants little to sustain with.

Today, many players of the restaurant industry partner with these apps but have also launched their own online ordering services, through websites or mobile apps. But to win over existing customers through these direct online ordering services can be quite a task. After all, how can the marketing budget of a small restaurant match up to that of food delivery giants? And this is why it’s important to look for the most effective marketing strategies to convert third-party customers to direct orders.

Here are our top 6 strategies you can use to boost demand for direct orders and divert third-party traffic to your own online ordering website and app:

Offer Website Only Discount Coupons

For every order made by a customer on Uber Eats, Postmates, and the likes, you could offer a special discount coupon to them that can be redeemed only on your online ordering app or website. You could also offer free or discounted delivery for an initial period. These options act as great incentives to help customers make the switch. And if we’re looking at just the numbers, doesn’t it make more sense to offer a regular customer a 10% discount as opposed to paying a 40% commission to a food delivery app?
McDonald’s serves as the best example of just how effective this sales tactic is - the chain has doubled down on delivery in recent times and the use of their food delivery app has skyrocketed. A major reason for this has been the app-only discount coupons offered by them.

Social Media Campaigns on Holidays

A great way to drive up customer engagement is through marketing campaigns inspired by current events. This could include conventional holidays such as Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day and even major sports events such as the Super Bowl. The idea is to market your food items in a heartfelt way that the customer can connect with. For instance, Father’s Day is around the corner. If you run a pizzeria, a marketing idea would be to encourage customers to send their dads a free pizza when they order from your restaurant. This marketing technique can boost sales in no time.

QR Code Stickers

The next time your customers place an order on a third-party food delivery app, you could send out a QR code sticker with their order. The premise is fairly simple. All your customers have to do is scan the QR code and voila-their free membership on your online ordering website or app is activated instantly. Once they’re signed up, you can reward your customers with loyalty points to further bring about more sales. Make sure you promote your loyalty program on your social media as well!

Combos and Family Meals

In the restaurant world, combos of foods that go well together are always appreciated by customers. A burger with a milkshake, a croissant with a coffee…who’d say no to that? In the same way, family meals are strong contenders for customer favorites too. They’re an inclusive meal option for people and make decisions much easier for families. So, you should create these deals for your customers, but offer them only on your direct online ordering platform. This way, customers know that they can save a lot more money by ordering from your website or app instead of ordering a la carte on a third-party food delivery app.

Limited Menu on Third-Party Apps

One of the simplest ways to drive customers to your online ordering platform is to limit your menu on third-party apps. You could also limit the options for customizing food. Chipotle is known for using this strategy to get more and more people to use their food delivery service. However, once you’ve made these menu changes, it’s essential to communicate them to your customers as well. Use your social media handles to promote website-only specials or app-only offers to your customers so they know what to do. Make your posts engaging enough so that users want to order best-selling menu items that can be exclusively found on your website or app.

Social Media Promotion

Using your social media wisely is a foolproof method of driving up customer engagement on your online ordering platform. Any promotional post that you make on Twitter or Instagram should direct your visitors straight to your website or app. This includes the “swipe up” feature on Instagram, promoting your restaurant website in your bio, and so on. Similarly, make sure your “Google My Business” page also has direct links to place online orders on your website. Any searches made by prospective customers on search engines should lead them to direct ordering instead of third-party marketplaces.

Incentives go a long way in converting customers to direct orders. They serve as a reason to steer from third-party delivery apps to a restaurant’s online ordering service. If you already have a strong presence on third-party delivery apps, you should use it to your advantage.

With the strategies we’ve told you about in this article, you can smoothly transition your customers to your online ordering platform in the near future. Soon, you can let go of relying on Uber Eats and GrubHub and instead focus on maximizing your own profits.

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