The food delivery market has ramped up rapidly in recent years with consumers now ravenous for choice and convenience. The pandemic permanently altered the way customers engage with their favourite restaurants and convenience stores – with an expectation for unlocking fast and fresh deliveries with a quick tap of the phone.

Australia is considered one of the most mature food delivery markets globally – together with the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States – experiencing impressive five-fold growth from 2018 to 2021[1].

As consumer demand for online delivery rises and the hospitality sector continues its quest for stability and growth after a tumultuous period, more restaurants and grocers are flocking online. Not only does it add a new stream of revenue, but it extends their doors to customers they may have never otherwise reached via a pure bricks and mortar approach.

If you’re considering online delivery for your restaurant or convenience outfit, there are a few critical ingredients for success, so you can truly maximise its possibilities and rewards.

Bake measurable goals into your online plan

First and foremost, set a plan for your online expansion. What business problem are you trying to solve with online delivery? What will an online service help you to achieve? What do you want out of the experience? The more questions you ask, the clearer your strategy will be.

Developing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and setting goals are crucial in your planning and strategy stages and allow you to measure success. It’s important to ensure that your customers are front of mind when designing your KPIs – after all, everything ladders back to them!

For instance, your KPIs may centre around order volume, basket size, rejection rates, as well as timing accuracies regarding food preparation or grocery gathering and how long couriers are idling outside your site. Keeping close track of these KPIs, and making strategic adjustments to your systems in response, will go a long way in ensuring your customers keep coming back for more – whether online or in-person!

Prepare an appetising virtual store

To prepare your online offering, it’s important to understand your target customers. Where are they located? How do they purchase? What are they hungry for? This information will inform your unique proposition and help guide you in:

  • Setting a realistic and specific delivery radius
  • Identifying your strongest products and prioritising these on the online store
  • Taking high quality photos of the products. Remember that people eat with their eyes, so the more appetising the photo, the higher the popularity of the item!

Be sure to lean on the delivery support teams from your provider – they are experts in this and can offer excellent tips and insights. For instance, at Menulog, we work closely with our restaurant partners on their delivery radius settings as not all suburbs are the same! Two suburbs may be the same distance from your premises however one may have several populated apartment buildings while the other singular houses on large properties. We help restaurants as well as grocery and convenience stores define their virtual reach based on capacity levels and help them with adjustments over time as their circumstances change.

Cook up a multi-pronged marketing approach

To boost customer awareness and foster growth, it’s important to market your online expansion. There are multiple ways to do this, including traditional instore advertising (such as signage, flyers and vouchers) as well as via digital channels. 

Building an online presence is one of the most powerful ways in reaching your customers. Through leveraging social media platforms, you can promote menu and grocery items, spotlight delivery promotions and build regular engagement with local customers beyond your walls.

It’s wise to also choose a delivery partner that invests in joint Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation, as well as pay-per-click advertising. It’s quite technical and costly, so maximise their resources and this kind of collaboration is signs of a true partnership.

Adding to this, loyalty programs offer multiple benefits – they reward customers while also driving repeat business and bestowing invaluable insight into spending behaviours. They track the spending of repeat customers and reward that loyalty often through a point system that can be exchanged for rewards. Rewards can include discounted meals or groceries, free items, or even access to exclusive events and services, driving them back for more.

Restaurants, grocers, convenience stores and consumers alike are jumping aboard the online delivery trend with gusto around the country. Make sure your business enters this new revenue stream with a clear strategy and robust offering supported by a strong partner network. Constantly track, review and adjust – making the most of the opportunity that exists by keeping your customers coming back for more.

Rory Murphy is commercial director for Australia and New Zealand at Menulog.