Bring your restaurant online without breaking the bank

Posted on 18 April, 2020 / 5 min read

So here we are, in the midst of COVID-19. Patrons are staying home due to pandemic and you, an essential service are open. No regular customers, no foot traffic to bring in new customers, the delivery companies take a huge cut and you're struggling to pay your overheads, suppliers and staff. Let’s not even mention the food waste. If you’re a newly established restaurant, the situation is even more dire. What can be done? People are surfing their phones more than ever, and they are ordering in food to the tune of 8-10 million meals a day.

KF Seetoh about online restaurant

How do you tap into this market to stay afloat and even thrive? Your solution is to reach them where they are: online.

1. I want to bring my business online!

If you are a restaurant, your solution would be to create an online store where customers can find your restaurant, browse the menu, order directly and go through a secure payment portal.

You also want to make sure your online restaurant has a great user experience (fast, clean and easy to navigate) so your customers will be happy and at ease using your platform. If they are happy, they are likely to order more and to return.

If they are frustrated, they will leave without ordering anything and go to the next store. This could result in many lost opportunities.

2. I want to make my customers happy!

Aim to provide a smooth customer experience. Like your onsite store, first impressions count! Your customer will appreciate an onsite and online service that is efficient, easy to understand and secure. This means that your app has to load quickly and smoothly(<3s), they should be able to easily find what they are looking for and the payment options must be secure so their information is kept private. Do not forget that a satisfied customer is a returning customer.

At Digital Nuage, this is what we do best since our applications are mobile friendly as per Google standards and are 2-3 times faster than a classic website.

Once you have your web app up and running, you will need to reach your regular and new customers.

3. I want to have a wide reach of customers!

Here you have a few channels available to you. The best ones are SEO and emails. SEO means that you will try to rank higher on Google and eventually reach the first page. For example when people search “JAPANESE FOOD SG”, your restaurant will come up amongst one of the first few searches. In terms of technical SEO, if you work with us, you will be one step ahead due to the speed of our applications, making it not only very user friendly, but also highly favoured by Google. Google cares a lot about the user experience of his users and this is why there is a strong push in 2020 towards speed and mobile friendliness.

Keywords matter as well and we recommend that you express your restaurant’s unique offerings in your text.

A second way would be to collect emails which you should do when your customers orders from you and you can then use this channel for future promotions. Facebook restaurant groups can also be a useful way to showcase your restaurant.

If you have a larger budget, using targeted online advertising on Google and Facebook is also an option.

4. I want to keep it cost effective!

Here is a little dirty secret: Most of the web development agencies out there sell you a website and a separate app. It brings great profit for them but it’s not a good deal for your business. You may think it is great because you are online and you have an app on which your customer can use to buy online. But you purchased a website AND an app, which requires maintenance fees for both.

Using recent technological advances, Digital Nuage can give you an all-in-one solution: a website which can also behave like an app. This translates to lower development costs. It also means that your customer will not have to be routed to the app store to download a separate app. The user experience is more streamlined and since our applications are lightning fast the customer completes the order and pays faster. This is a win-win solution for both.

Another thing to keep in mind is the hosting cost. If you want to be online, you can use a basic plan which cost around $5 for a basic shared hosting service. You are likely to run into problems of slower speed and performance at this stage. The next step would be to use a VPS (Virtual Private Server). This service is also shared but you will get your own little parcel of server. If we think of it in terms of real estate, you just moved from a student dormitory to your own private flat. The next step would be to use a dedicated server, which is like owning a house. You can expect great performance but it comes at a larger expense.

5. Digital Nuage: cost-effective hosting solutions with great performance!

Why? Simple! Because we put our customers first and we want you to thrive as an online business using the best of what technology has to offer. Let’s face it, as a restauranteur, you specialise in creating amazing food in a relaxing ambience. You don’t really want to bother with the technicalities of website development. You already have workflow, staff, suppliers and overheads to worry about. You just want an online hangout which works and reflects the spirit of your onsite restaurant where your customers can come and put their orders in for your delicious food.

So if you decide to work with us, you will get a hassle-free all-in-one solution which the following features:

1 Lightning fast web application SEO optimized application to make it easier for your customers to find you. An intuitive User Experience to make your customer hit the ‘BUY’ button again and again.

6. I want to start a restaurant with minimal capital!

The situation we outlined above was the one in which you already have a brick and mortar restaurant and you would like your customers to have an alternative means of reaching you. It also means that you have to make sure your restaurant can handle the rental and other expenses incurring to a brick and mortar business. Another possibility would be to open a virtual restaurant. Also known as a ghost restaurant, virtual kitchen, dark kitchen, it just means that your restaurant is a fully online shopfront.

In this business model, your customers will order online, the food will be cooked in a central kitchen and you will then provide delivery to their doorstep. You could also cook at your customer’s place. This business model could give you a lot more flexibility and much lower overheads as the structure is easier to change than with a brick and mortar restaurant.

There are lots of awesome opportunities outside there! Feel free out to reach us at Digital Solution X if you are looking for an optimal way of bringing your business online successfully. We will be more than happy to assist you.