Terry Larkin, general manager at JJ Food Service, explains how its company FOODit can help fish and chip shops build their own mobile-friendly online ordering websites and offers some handy pointers to help friers avoid common problems
Everyone loves how traditional fish and chips are – but with the UK eating out sector changing fast, more and more diners are expecting to order their favourite takeaways online and on the go. We think it’s important that even traditional operators adapt.
Having a website is a good start but making it mobile-friendly is absolutely crucial. In 2016, an incredible 69% of takeaway orders were placed using a mobile phone, according to data from restaurant website builder FOODit.
Just 21% of orders were placed on desktop or laptop computers and a further 10% using tablets. We believe that the appetite to order online and on the go will continue to grow in the year ahead. The chippies that are responding are seeing great results. But it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls, too.
Big takeaway sites versus independent website
Working with the big takeaway websites may be popular but they can also be expensive and don't always help diners to get to know your restaurant or takeaway and to stay loyal to it. The costs of working with these sites continue to climb, while the benefits are shrinking. What’s more, it can be very hard for a restaurant to leave if customers are all using the marketplace websites. We think that restaurants need to take back control. By investing in your own online ordering website, and marketing it well, operators can control costs, control their content and build a loyal customer base.
Logistics of deliveries
Other considerations include logistics and the need to quickly calculate the distance to the consumer so that you can charge appropriate delivery fees or decline the order if it’s too far away. Online ordering websites like those provided to independent chippies by FOODit, deal with all of this at the checkout - a huge improvement compared with staff trying to make this judgement over the phone.
When orders are placed online, delivery drivers can be passed the address electronically with map guidance on their smartphones so that there are no errors.
Third party delivery services such as Quiqup, Stuart or Delivery Mates can take all the delivery logistics including staffing arrangements off the hands of the restaurant. Although the costs can be around £6 per delivery, for larger basket sizes it lets the restaurant offer home delivery without any effort on their part.
Beware of extortionate fees to update
Fish and chip shops must ensure that any website they develop is mobile-friendly. Ideally it should be continually updated to work on new smartphone models and operating systems that emerge. Some independents have been stung by expensive website development costs and huge fees to update the site a year or two later.
So, in the same way you invest in having an attractive entrance and sign outside your shop, your business also needs its own professional, attractive website to entice diners in. Orders that come from your own website deliver more profit, too. They enable you to keep your customers’ details, which is important for future marketing.
We already have many chippies using FOODit enjoying fantastic results. Take the Seagull Fish Café in Birmingham. Owner Polet Ahmet previously relied on leaflets alone to market his business. While the shop received lots of calls (it’s a popular place!) the phone was always engaged, which was frustrating for customers, time consuming for staff and resulted in missed sales for the business. We helped to put Polet’s shop online and he’s since increased orders by 150 a week. You can see his story for yourself by clicking here
We want our customers to take control of their future and we’re here to help. Make 2017 the year that you move online and follow the next generation of diners
FOODit 08433 202 505 www.foodit.com
Three reasons to go online
– telephone ordering is fast-becoming history. Diners want to order online and on the go. The restaurants that respond will survive and thrive.
– taking orders online frees up staff to spend less time on the phone and more time preparing delicious food – plus, you’ll never miss an order again.
Build a database
– customer details are the gold mine of your business. Large takeaway sites do not offer you this vital information. Your own website would.