Advice

Using platforms to boost your restaurant sales

Using the right platforms can considerably increase your restaurant’s brand reach as well as boosting your profits. However they do need regular management to maximise revenues. In my restaurant, Firebrand Pizza we use a number of companies:

Deliveroo

We did try UberEats when we opened two years ago, but it didn’t get us the desired results. Therefore we went exclusively with Deliveroo, which meant a good reduction in the commission they charge. I know some think their charges are too high, but personally I think what we pay is reasonable to avoid the issues of hiring delivery staff plus we get customers we wouldn’t normally get.

In recent times, Deliveroo have altered their algorithm, now it’s not just about the speed of delivery but also the customer reviews. It seems not many people give reviews, so one or two good or bad reviews can affect your percentage rating. Therefore ask your loyal customers to leave a review for a drink or discount.

We find that the majority of our orders from Deliveroo come in the evening time, later in the week. So we’ve run a few lunch meal deal promotions for both individuals and groups – these work well to boost sales at our quieter times.

Keep up to date with your listing – make sure you include your main categories of food, so people can find you easily. If you have any amends to dishes and new menu items, contact Deliveroo to get those changes live as soon as possible. With no other branding visible, the photo is extra important. So it needs to look the best – get it re-shot if you’re not happy!

Just Eat

Just Eat works best for those restaurants which have their own delivery drivers. At Firebrand Pizza we use a courier company called Stuart for deliveries. Their prices are reasonable but sometimes they don’t have drivers in our area which means we have to cancel Just Eat orders – obviously not good for our reputation both on and off Just Eat. They have introduced pay-per-click for a limited amount of restaurants in a particular area to increase traffic to your listing, but due to the costs of delivery we haven’t participated – although some of our clients at Captivate do well out of it.

Opentable

At Firebrand Pizza we use Opentable for extra bookings – we don’t use the booking system and their booking widget isn’t on our website. This suits us well as we’re a small restaurant, but many of Captivate’s larger clients can’t live without the seat management system.

There are a number of different ways of using Opentable to increase your turnover. During the quieter times we’ve added some promotions, however these are with Opentable to increase traffic rather than a special offer for customers. With £2 a cover and then running a 2 for 1, it just isn’t worth it with our spend per head. However we do use a combination of the promoted results (£4.50 per cover) and their 1,000 points program (£5) to drive sales at our slowest periods. Opentable are keen to promote their 1,000 points program and by joining we get good prominence on their site (although we only do it for Monday evening bookings).

Groupon

We’ve used Groupon for a number of clients (although not for Firebrand) and it can be useful for filling tables at quieter times (there are also quite a few similar companies worth looking at). However there’s little brand loyalty with Groupon customers – it’s unlikely they will return to your restaurant as a full paying customer. We’ve run a number of food and drink based offers on Groupon and they do result in a lot of bookings. But make sure the terms and conditions are well thought out, I’ve heard of a few restaurants which have lost money on Groupon offers by having too vague terms and conditions.

It does, however, leave a digital footprint and people will be able to see the Groupon offer when they Google your brand name long after the promotion has finished.


By Guy Holmes, owner of hospitality marketing agency Captivate Hospitality and co-owner of Firebrand Pizza 

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