Don’t Build It – 5 Online Partners for Restaurants

Don't Build ItAs small business owners with limited resources, there’s often a feeling that we need to build everything ourselves. Paying someone else to do something you could do yourself may not seem money-conscious, but time is literally money and yours is already in short supply.  There are a ton of online companies focused on providing inexpensive, automated solutions for many common business tasks.

Here’s a list of five online partners for restaurants:

GrubHub
GrubHub is service that provides online ordering to restaurants. Users can see who delivers to their location, browse the menu online, place their order and pay all from the GrubHub website. GrubHub faxes the restaurant the order and they deliver. GrubHub also displays reviews from their users as well as from Yelp.  All this ads up to web presence, online ordering, payment processing and marketing all done seamlessly and for a small, per-order fee.  GrubHub even has an iPhone app for ordering on the go.

Foodler
Similar to GrubHub, Foodler is an online ordering service for restaurants offering delivery.  An interesting feature that sets Foodler apart is their “Satisfaction Index”. This metric is a mixture of how often customers reorder from the restaurant, popularity of cuisine offered and proximity to other restaurants.  Since none of this information comes directly from the customers, you are guaranteed an unbiased rating.

OpenTable
If your restaurant doesn’t deliver- online ordering might not be for you. Would you like to book more reservations? OpenTable’s online reservation system allows users to search by cuisine, location and price range as well as date, time and table size. While browsing restaurants, users can read descriptions, view photos and read user reviews.

Another interesting feature is OpenTable’s rewards program. Each reservation booked earns diners a certain number of points. Points can later be redeemed for Dining Cheques good at any OpenTable restaurant.

Yelp
Reputation is everything with restaurants, but getting customers to fill out a feedback card when the check comes is difficult.  Even if they do fill it out, you still need to transcribe positive feedback onto a testimonial section of your website and hope potential diners actually find and read them.

People want to know where to get a good meal, with good service and a good price- and they trust word of mouth more than anything.  Yelp lets people leave ratings and reviews of local businesses and allows people to search those reviews.

Businesses can have a page on Yelp without signing up, which means people can be leaving reviews without you even knowing it!  Setting up an account allows you to enter detailed business information and post photos of your business.  Best of all, if a customer posts a negative review, you have the ability to respond and try to make things right.  A restaurant that takes care of their customers that well will never have a shortage of business.

Square
Not all restaurants are very big or do a lot of credit card transactions, like an ice cream stand or food truck, and so many only take cash. Merchant accounts can be hard to get and processing cards can be expensive. Enter: Square.

Square is a service that lets you run credit card transactions from a smartphone. Simply plug in the free card swiping attachment open the app and start running credit card transactions. Each transaction costs just 2.75% of the total charge amount, and your funds are deposited to your bank account the next day.  You can even view your receipts online and download your transaction history to a CSV file for easy book keeping.  Now any business can accept credit cards quickly and inexpensively.

There you have it- 5 online services to help you do more with your restaurant without doing it yourself. Consider trying out some of these services to help take your restaurant to the next level, without investing countless hours or dollars on the project.

Image: Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net