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Online Ordering Helps Restaurants Overcome COVID Concerns and Embrace Consumer Trends

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

COVID-19 and social distancing have had a profound impact on the way we live and work. Many restaurants have had to change the way they connect with their customers during this time, propelling them toward new commerce channels like online ordering. How long it will take to resume business as usual is a question that looms large. No one knows for sure, or even knows if it will return to normal as we had known it. But restaurants have an opportunity right now. By offering an online ordering solution, you can keep your doors open and continue to meet customer needs.

Online ordering solutions can help your restaurant grab a bigger share of one of the industry’s fastest-growing market segments. Even before the global health pandemic, a 2019 survey showed that digital delivery sales in Canada rose by 52% year over year (YOY), compared to 4.7% YOY growth for the industry as a whole; and Canadians spent $3.3B on delivery in 2018, with $1.9B spent on digital delivery options and $1.4B on traditional phone orders. And COVID has accelerated this growth even more. Over half of restaurants will continue to provide contactless and curbside pickup, making online ordering not just a commerce channel now, but far into the future as well.

Online purchases of food or food delivery jumped from 14% in 2016 to 31% in 2019.

Getting your restaurant online isn’t complicated, and it doesn’t take a lot of extra legwork. Setting up an online ordering solution is easy, especially when you can make changes to the menu and set pricing in real time. All you need is a tablet or PC to accept orders and a merchant account to process them, and you’re good to go!

It’s estimated that $714M of delivery orders are processed through restaurant-owned websites, while the remaining $1.1B is split among third-party options. It’s clear that third-party delivery platforms are popular with consumers so when vetting online ordering solutions like Global Payments Online Ordering, select one that integrates seamlessly with popular delivery platforms like UberEats, SkipTheDishes and DoorDash. Don’t discount the importance of your own website however. A recent survey showed that restaurant patrons order more frequently (51%) from restaurant websites, compared with online ordering aggregate sites (38%) and food ordering service apps (29%). If you do decide to use third-party platforms, be sure to research the sites your customers use the most, because research also shows that restaurant patrons tend to be loyal to specific platforms.

Now and in the future, online ordering will help keep your business in close connection with your customers. Even when dining rooms are open, it’s likely that restaurants will have fewer tables than before. In a post-COVID world, takeout services will be essential for many businesses. Online ordering creates a new channel for customers who may be more comfortable ordering takeout or delivery than dining in. With this new commerce channel in place, your current customers will be happier that they can continue to order from you when dining in is restricted and you will be well on its way to an even stronger future.