With fewer people taking up tables within restaurants, these dine-in services are going obsolete. However, that doesn’t mean your patrons don’t want to eat your food. Businesses like restaurants, small bakeries, cafes, and juice joints can provide their services online.
By setting up an online presence for your restaurant or other food services, you can serve your patrons in a safe and hygienic manner. Many restaurants have limited their business to just take outs and delivery. They have focused their strategy on promoting these services, ensuring that customers choose to order from them.
But, how effective is an online restaurant business?
Why You Need to Take Your Restaurant and Eatery Business Online
As the pandemic has become a reality, restaurant businesses have adapted to the new consumer needs. Consumers are prioritizing hygiene over their cravings and they end up not availing a restaurant’s services at all.
However, if you set up a system for takeaways and delivery, your customers would find it easier to order from your restaurant. With an online experience of your restaurant, your shoppers will be able to place orders, choose how they want to receive it, and safely consume your food. Many restaurants have adopted this strategy and since this a guarantee of hygiene, they are seeing huge success.
As a restaurant/ food business, you may already be listed on aggregated food delivery apps like GrubHub or UberEats. These apps take a commission for your sales resulting in a small net profit for you. They also hike up delivery fees, making it harder for consumers to order.
By setting up your restaurant’s website, your shoppers can order directly and you only have a small transactional fee to worry about. You also have more control over delivery, messaging, and safety standards that your staff needs to follow.
An online presence for your restaurant can also allow you to provide a unique experience to your consumers and ensure it aligns with the tone and style that your restaurant is known for.
If you haven’t set up your online restaurant, you can avail Shopify’s 14-day trial to set up and launch your services online.
Best Shopify Store Design Practices for Restaurant Businesses (+conversions)
When setting up your restaurant business on Shopify, it’s crucial that your store meets the different requirements that your consumers have. Here are Shopify store design best practices when setting up your restaurant’s website.
1. Pick your theme
When setting up your restaurant business on Shopify, you can start creating your design with the themes available on the Shopify Theme Store. Here are 3 theme built for restaurant businesses:
With a fresh look and selective pops of color, Express is a Shopify theme that is the personification of a restaurant menu. With items listed with images and prices as well as tabs for different categories of food, this free theme is perfect if you want to a clean and one-page store.
Avenue is a lively theme, similar to Express but with way more customizations allowed. This paid theme is perfect for restaurants that have a large menu and want to make it easier for shoppers to look for specific items. The in-built features are this theme's selling point.
With customizable design and image-first approach, Vantage is a paid theme that adds a personality to your restaurant's online presence. The design is easy to customize and sleek enough that it can be molded to your needs.
These are pre-set themes that allow you to take your business online in no time. However, if you want a custom design for your restaurant, you can work with our team of design experts to set up your online restaurant with the design and branding of your choice.
2. Add images and details of the dishes
Ensure that each food item that is listed also includes images that are high-quality and well-plated. You can even style the photo and show it in the context of a full meal. For instance, you can show a burger with fries and a milkshake.
Besides well-shot images, you can also include nutritional facts, ingredients, disclaimers, and even reviews from other customers.
3. Use brand colors
Ensure that the colors used in your restaurant’s website match the overall branding within your restaurant location. Customers who land on your website shouldn’t feel like they landed on a new, unheard restaurant. Use the colors you’ve already used within your restaurant. You can even keep your website clean with pops of color.
4. Add videos of the making of the dishes
Who doesn’t love watching food videos? Mesmerize your customers with videos of how you make the food they love, adding them to the item pages. In fact, including a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by up to 80%.
Apps like Typito make it easier for you to stitch your product footage together, add text, music, and effects. This drag-and-drop video maker simplifies video creation and allows you to publish these videos onto your restaurant’s website in no time!
5. Add vegan and gluten warnings with product labels
When browsing through your menu, patrons may not be able to distinguish ones with gluten and ones without or be able to tell which ones are vegan without having to look at the item’s details. By adding product labels on your food items, you can make it easier for customers
Using ModeMagic, you can add product labels on specific items in your menu without having to customize the food images. The labels can be added over each item and will show custom tags like ‘Gluten-free’, ‘Vegan’, and ‘Contains Peanuts’ that are highly visible for browsing customers.
6. Set up your own mobile app
Some of the most popular fast-food brands like McDonald’s and Dominoes have their own mobile app. You can easily transform your restaurant’s website into a native app that exists within Apple and Android Play Stores. With an app, you can boost customer retention, increase brand awareness, and ensure that customers come back for another order.
Plobal Apps is a Shopify app that transforms your website into a native app. You can customize the look and feel of the app and set up personalized experiences like loyalty programs and live chat so that customers find it easy to order from your restaurant.
7. Choose how you want to structure your food items
Structure your food items in a way that it’s easier for your customers to navigate. You can either choose to structure them into collections based on the meal course like appetizers, main course, desserts, etc. Or, you can divide them into food types like ‘Small plates’, ‘Vegetarian Lovers’, ‘Beef’, etc.
Ensure that your items are structured similarly to how your menu is structured when customers come for dine-in. This way, there will be more consistency in your brand online and offline.
8. Set up a pop-up at exit intent
Avoid losing your patrons by showing a pop-up when they move towards exiting your online restaurant. Add a pop-up with apps like Privy to show a message that lets the consumer know what they’ll be missing out on.
You can add a message that promotes your chef’s specials or give them a 10% discount on checkout. This way, you have the chance to nudge website visitors to successfully place an order.
9. Set up specific pages about your restaurant
Your online restaurant isn’t complete without a few crucial pages that inform customers about who you are, what you do, and how you function. Here are 4 pages you need to set up to ensure customers have all the details they need about your restaurant business:
- Our Story: Give background about your restaurant, including how it started, why you set it up, and the team behind the food.
- Hygiene Standards: Inform consumers about the safety measures taken in the kitchen to keep
- Causes We Support: List the charitable causes you support and the different ways you work with the community. This can allow you to relate to your consumers better and humanize your business.
- Refund Policy: Inform customers about your refund policy, what reasons they will be refunded, and the procedure they need to follow.
10. Robust checkout with tipping
Just like in a restaurant, you can also set up tipping on your restaurant’s website. This way, customers can add a tip for their order which can be given to your restaurant staff, ensuring they don’t miss out on these extra bucks.
You can add the tipping functionality on your Shopify store by going to Checkout customizations from the Settings page on your Shopify dashboard and adding tipping options. Read the instructions to set it up.
11. Shopify POS integration
As things step back into being normal and restaurants also open their physical outlets, it is important to create a connected experience for customers. That's where the Shopify POS integration for restaurants comes into play. Leading food brands on Shopify have established omnichannel experiences with the help of this one feature.
Best Shopify Apps Suitable For Restaurant and Food Businesses
With so many apps on the Shopify App Store, you may be a little confused about which apps you need to set up to ensure your restaurant’s online orders work smoothly. Here are 8 best Shopify apps to help you manage your work efficiently:
1. Store Pickup + Delivery App
Make it easier for your shoppers to choose how they want to receive their order— with takeaways or by delivery. With the Store Pickup + Delivery App by Zapiet, you can set up these options on your store and get a comprehensive understanding of which orders are being picked up and which ones need to be delivered.
With Zapiet’s dashboard, you won’t have to worry about mixing up orders!
2. Shopify POS
If you are still providing dine-in services or have a drive-through available, you can keep all your restaurant orders in one place using Shopify POS. Shopify POS ensures that your revenue is unified in one place, allowing you to manage all your orders, monitor analytics, and even manage loyalty.
This way, restaurant orders on your website as well as your in-restaurant orders can be viewed in one dashboard.
3. Let shoppers get instant help with Tidio Live Chat
Customers may have questions about the food, whether certain items are vegan, whether they contain gluten, etc. Make it easier for them to ask and quickly get responses with a live chat set up. Live chat can allow you to retain customers and avoid losing them due to lack of information.
Apps like Tidio Live Chat simplify live chat setup. Once set up, you can even add automated responses so that any common questions are instantly asked by the chatbot available. This way, you only have to respond to non-templatized and uncommon questions that come your way.
4. Free Trust Badge by ShopClimb
When placing an order, many online customers are skeptical of adding their card details. This is one of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment. Ensure that you aren’t losing your patrons due to this worry by placing trust badges that inform customers that it is safe to checkout on your store.
Trust badges show that your website is secure and has an encrypted payment gateway to avoid hacks and fraudulent cases. You can enable trust badges on your checkout page with the Free Trust Badge app.
5. Product customizations with Bold Product Options
Whether you sell pizzas or burgers, each item can be customized according to the customer’s needs. Allow your patrons to customize their food orders with the Bold Product Options app. With this, you can show different customizations, whether it’s adding toppings, sauces, or items that the chef should exclude from the order.
The app simplifies the ordering process, making it smoother and easier for your customers. On the backend, these customizations can easily be viewed so that your team can cook up exact orders.
6. Allow gift wrapping and cards with Gift Wrap Plus
A lot of people are in the habit of gifting meals to their loved ones. Make it easier by enabling a gift wrap feature where you can provide the complete gifting experience, complete with cards and wrapping paper.
Install Gift Wrap Plus to set up the feature on checkout and make it easier for your consumers to pick this option.
7. Personalized customer account with Flits
Large fast food brands often show logged in customers what they ordered last time along with a ‘Reorder’ button to make it easier for customers to make the purchase again.
Apps like Flits allow you to provide such a feature on your online restaurant ordering website. The app transforms the basic customer account into a personalized hub where customers can see which items they wishlisted, items they recently viewed, and their past orders. From here, they can quickly order/reorder food they had saved/previously ordered.
8 Provide meal combos with Bold Bundles
Want to offer meals and combos on your Shopify restaurant? Use Bold Bundles to set up meals and combos, just the way McDonald’s does!
With Bold Bundles, you can create multiple bundles for different items on your menu so that consumers have the option of creating a combo meal from scratch. Such functionality makes it easier to increase the AOV on your online restaurant since shoppers would constantly see these combo offers and be enticed to order more.
Set up your restaurant on Shopify and start taking orders
We hope this guide helps you set up your restaurant on Shopify and increase orders. If you are still figuring out how to set up your online presence for your restaurant, our team of design experts is here to help.
With our years of expertise setting up Shopify stores, we will work with you to set up an online restaurant to make it easier to receive orders and serve your patrons.Reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.