When’s the last time you picked up a phone and called a restaurant to order takeout?

If you’re like a growing number of consumers, we’re guessing it’s been awhile. According to a report by Interactive Advertising Bureau and Viggle, 69 percent of mobile users have placed orders for food using their smartphone or tablet. And as more consumers gain access to faster Internet, this number is only expected to grow.

“By adding online ordering, restaurants can increase their sales and improve their customer service to their guest,” says Savanna Eckenrode, marketing manager for MenuDrive, an online and mobile ordering platform.

Savanna recently answered a few questions for us about MenuDrive and the advantages of setting up online ordering for your restaurant. Here’s what she had to say:

Can you tell us the story behind MenuDrive?

The idea of MenuDrive began in 2006 with the purpose of helping to assist restaurants establish an eCommerce presence to increase their revenue and build customer loyalty. The goal then, as it still is today, was to provide restaurants with an eCommerce solution that made accepting orders easier and gave them the tools to engage with their customers online. [clickToTweet tweet=”69 % of mobile users have placed orders for food using their smartphone or tablet.” quote=”69 % of mobile users have placed orders for food using their smartphone or tablet.” theme=”style5″]

With over thousands of customers throughout the United States and Canada and a team of online ordering experts, MenuDrive has grown to become a leader in the restaurant online & mobile ordering industry.

What services do you offer? Who should be using them?

The MenuDrive Platform provides restaurants with an easy process to build and launch an online & mobile ordering solution for their guest. The platform comes packed with a robust set of features and marketing tools to increase revenue and build customer loyalty. Ideally, any restaurant looking to increase their take-out or catering business can benefit most from our software. The most common type of restaurants are pizza, Asian, deli and Mexican.

What are the most common challenges and frustrations your clients come to you with? How do you help them?

A majority of restaurants that reach out to us are looking for a solution to one, help streamline their operations; and two, increase their sales.

Most restaurants want to reduce the amount of time their employees spend on the phone to allow for better customer service. Online ordering not only gets employees off the phone, it also reduces the potential for errors that often occur when taking phone orders. Also, the customer service is better since customers can conveniently take their time and not feel rushed to get off the phone when placing their order. That is why online orders are typically on average 25 percent higher than phone orders.

A lot of our clients are also looking to increase their sales. The MenuDrive Platform is packed full of features that can help them engage with their customers like email/text marketing and our Loyalty Program. These tools are perfect for building brand loyalty with customers and rewarding them to keep them coming back to spend more. A repeat customer will spend 67 percent more than a new one, and our software helps restaurants create those loyal repeat customers!

What considerations should restaurant owners and caterers make when looking at online ordering?

There are a lot of online ordering systems on the market, and this often confuses restaurants because it can be hard to tell the difference between them.

When looking for an online ordering system, one of the first things that should be considered is the experience of that online ordering system company.

MenuDrive has been in business since 2006, which means we have almost a decade of experience with online ordering and have a team of experts and developers focused on building the most robust and innovative platform.

Restaurants should also take into consideration what is included in their online ordering system. Is it just online ordering, or does it offer a platform with tools to engage with your customers?

MenuDrive has over 70 features currently in its system and we are adding more all the time. Our system includes Up-sell, Marketing Automation, Reporting & Analytics, and a Rewards Program.

What are the benefits of online ordering to a business’s marketing strategy?

With online ordering, restaurants have another channel to market and engage with new or loyal customers. Online ordering gives restaurants the ability to gather data and insight into their customer’s buying habits. The information collected can be used to create specific marketing campaigns and promotions to entice and reward their customers. In addition, the online ordering tool can be more cost effective than traditional marketing options when engaging with customers.

How easy is it to set up online ordering using your system?

Setting a MenuDrive online menu is extremely easy with our platform. There are two options for the restaurants. They can select our Setup team to build the menu for them, or they can use our self-serve process and configure the menu themselves.

For customers who want to set up the service themselves, we offer a self-serve setup plan on our website that allows restaurant owners to get up and going as fast as they would like. We have a variety of video tutorials and a knowledge base that goes over every aspect of our software. In addition, our Support team is also available to help answer any questions.

What are some of your other favourite tools and resources for restaurant owners for building their businesses?

One of the best things restaurants can do to help grow their business and help market their online ordering is to share their information through social media.

A majority of businesses and consumers communicate with each other through social media. Sharing things like promotions and their online ordering link will help them spread the word of their site and increase their sales online.

One of the resources we like to direct restaurants toward is online forums and blog sites. Our favourite sites are Fohboh and the PMQ Think Tank. These sites have questions and answers from actual restaurant owners, along with helpful tips on anything from marketing your restaurant to which oven they should purchase.

Connect with MenuDrive on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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