Must-Have Features of an Online Food Business and Why You Need Them

When setting up your food store online, you may be confused about what features are essential to help you sell better and provide a more personalized experience to shoppers. The Shopify App Store has a range of apps with highly specific features to help you start selling on your online food business. From flexible delivery to a tip jar, these apps make it easier for you to plug a solution that you require without having to build such a feature from scratch.

But, with more 4K apps available, which one is worth considering? We’ve listed 10 must-have features you need for your online food business. 

Don’t have an online store yet? Read our guide on setting up your restaurant and food business on Shopify or simply reach out to us.  

10 Essential Features for your Online Food Business

1. Product options/customizations to offer an a-la-carte  

When running a food and restaurant store, you may want to allow your customers to choose to omit certain ingredients or choose from different flavors, or even customize their order completely. In this case, you need a product customization feature that lets your shoppers make customizations with ease.

Bold Product Options makes ordering experiences on your Shopify store more flexible, allowing you to set up custom fields like dropdown menus, checkboxes, image swatches, etc. You can show different variants of the same product, let shoppers customize the item they are ordering, ensuring shoppers can pick and choose exactly what they want.

Essential Features for your Online Food Business

2. Tip jar while selling food online (and serving it) 

Many brands, restaurants, in particular, welcome tips for delivering or even for the service provided. Such a tipping system is usually in-store but you can easily provide this option on your virtual storefront.

Set up a Tip Jar on your cart page with the Tip Jar app. You can easily customize this feature, from the color of the tip button to how your customers interact with this feature. The tip jar feature allows you to 

3. Flexible delivery with Shopify for restaurants 

While a lot of us are ordering food online and then reheating it at home just for that extra precaution, there are those who are still skeptical about who’ll be delivering their order. Well, considering how things have changed in the new normal, it’s obvious and that’s why you need to give your customers the option to collect their orders or get them delivered. 

You can do this with apps like Store Pickup + Delivery by Zapiet. The app enables you to let the customer choose their method of order fulfillment, and also the time and date for it during checkout. 

If you’ve been searching for how to start an online food delivery business, this is the answer you’ve been looking for! 

Essential Features for your Online Food Business

4. Closed sign to avoid orders during your off time

Do customers usually order from your business and expect same-day or 2-hour delivery? If this is the case, they may be disappointed when they order during your off-hours and find that you don't deliver during that time and in fact, aren't even open. There’s an easy fix for this.

The We're Closed app helps you manage customer's expectations, allowing you to virtually close your shop and set up open and close hours. The app allows you to disable checkout functions on your Shopify store, add a custom message when your store is closed, and even display a banner to inform store visitors that you are closed.

5. Bundled offers and combos to sell more

Are you serving combo offers to your customers? You can provide these combos on your virtual storefront as well so that your delivery or takeaway customers can also tap into these offers and order more for less.

By offering combos or bundled offers, you can earn more while keeping your customers happy. In fact, 53% of customers considered combo meals ”very attractive”.

Set up such customized combos on your Shopify product pages with the Bold Bundles app. With the app, you can create custom combos of your food products and even allow customers to mix and match items.

So, for instance, if you are providing a burger meal, complete with a drink and sides, customers can choose from the different options you have.

Essential Features for your Online Food Business

6. Product labels for allergy warnings 

Selling food online can be tricky. Just like the ingredients section at the back of a food package gets ignored, this aspect of your product description is also less likely to be read. But as a business, it’s your responsibility to help the consumer make an informed purchase. Especially considering how some might be following a strict diet or could be allergic to specific food items. The best way to do this and ensure the detail does not get missed is by adding product labels. 

Using product labels, you can highlight your vegan products, those that are lactose-free or contain gluten, and so on. Here’s an example of what product labels look like and you can add these easily using apps like ModeMagic

Essential Features for your Online Food Business

7. Nutrition Facts to inform health-conscious customers

Customers, especially in this age, are more health-conscious. They want to know the benefits of a specific product before they buy and consume it. You can cater to their needs by adding nutritional information about each product.

The nutrition facts label on food packaging is especially helpful for such customers, helping them choose healthier options. You can set up such a visual on your Shopify store with the Nutrition Facts app.

The Shopify app lets you set up a standard nutrition facts table, including calories and ingredients so that customers can comb through this information easily.

Essential Features for your Online Food Business

8. Order dashboard for better management

As a restaurant owner, managing orders is slightly different from selling merchandise like clothes or stationery. Due to this, you need a dashboard that lets you manage all the incoming orders, track them, and ensure they are out the door on time.

You can manage your food orders, in one integrated dashboard with Foodee. The app lets you view every order and items ordered, order amount, which kind of delivery the customer chose, etc. 

Once the order is ready, you can mark it as ‘ready to pick up’ so that customers can come to pick it up. Or, if the customer has chosen delivery for the item you can mark it for ‘out for delivery’ so that your customer can receive a message and be informed in real-time.

Essential Features for your Online Food Business

Putting your best foot forward with your online food business

When you serve food at a cafe or restaurant, your focus is on how you plate the items. The same holds true when you start an online store for your food business. You should leave no stone unturned to give your target customers an immersive experience, wherein they can trust what you’re ‘feeding’ them without the ability to get a look and feel of the items you offer! 

Need help setting up any of these features on your online food store or your online store for restaurants? Reach out to us and we’ll help you get set up in no time! 

If you’re still considering setting up your store online and are looking for a step-by-step guide, don’t forget to read: Guide to setting up your restaurant and food business on Shopify

You’ll find everything you need to know about how to sell food online in the guide. 

Whether you’re selling food online in Canada or Europe or any other part of the world, we’ve seen these strategies work time and again!

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