Online Ordering Ideas and Inspiration List

Looking for ways that you can adapt your business? Here's a list of ideas to get you inspired, let your creativity run wild.

Take Home Menu - Order Ahead and On Demand

  • Adapt your menu to suit take away and have guests order it online for both pick up and delivery. 
  • Order Ahead - Use your social media channels, website and your email list to encourage your guests to place orders ahead of time through your website. In case you don't already know the benefits, see What is order ahead?
  • On Demand - For anything that you don't sell yourself, use an on demand ordering platform to "fill the gaps" in inventory that you don't sell yourself. You'll pay a high commission for these orders (consider this the "acquisition cost" to get a new customer) and then do everything you can to convert that guest in to a loyal or repeat customer who will order direct through you in the future. 
  • Create "At Home" meal packs - Aim for food that travels well, comfort food and family packs that share well are a great idea
  • Offer Home Delivery - Use your staff to help with deliveries and keep them employed
  • Give Incentives for guests to order at "shoulder" times and increase their minimum spend - e.g. If you spend over $100 and pick up your order before 6pm we'll throw in a four pack of beer from our local supplier
  • Sell Alcohol with your food - Get a take away and delivery liquor license for your business and sell alcohol online with your orders, it's a great way to clear your cellar out and keep your beverage suppliers in business too.

Packs and Goods

  • Produce boxes - Keeps your suppliers in business and avoids amazing produce from going to waste
  • Recipe Cards - Add recipe cards and cooking tips and tricks to experience packages, they can work well with digital experiences too!
  • Hampers and Picnic Baskets - Create hampers and picnic baskets for guests to enjoy outdoors or give as a gift. If you offer delivery your guests can order the gift to be delivered to someone else too. Keep this in mind when you're thinking of new social content around your packs!
  • Sauces, Jams, Spreads, Dusts, Powders, Pickles, Preserves, Coffee Beans - Sell anything online that has a long shelf life. Sell them on their own, and consider adding the most popular as supplements and add-ons in your take home offering.
  • Merchandise - Sell your Cookbook, T-Shirts, Hoodies, Bottle Openers, Stubby Holders, and Baseball caps online and like above make the most popular items an up-sell with your Order Ahead menu.
  • Breakfast in Bed Packs - A great idea for Cafe's
  • Hotel at home - Consider how you can adapt your menu to make unique and marketable packages, delivered directly to the guest in their own home. 
  • Get creative with what you call your dinner packs and meal kits - The marketing potentials are limitless, Pandemic Produce Box, Isolation Food Packs, Bug Out Feasts, ...

Digital Experiences

Get creative and think of how you can take traditional food and beverage experiences and transform them in to an online offering. Have guests book these experiences online and prepay for them in advance. There is no limit to the number of guests who can attend a virtual tour so you can offer your experiences a lower price and aim for higher volume of bookings.  

  • Virtual Cooking Classes - Run intimate cooking classes via video conferences, send guests a produce box before hand, and a recipe card and download of the recording afterwards.
  • Farm Gate Tours - Team up with your suppliers to sell digital online tours, have your producers show your guests around their farms or production facilities and explain the practices and effort they go to.
  • Online Winery, Brewery and Distillery Experiences - Stay in touch with your wine, beer and alcohol suppliers and organise tours with them. Supplement the experience, or sell a range of the their goods as an add-on when guests book the experience.
  • Take your experience to the next level - Think about how you can deliver an exceptional digital experience and increase the total number of touch points before and after. Is there something you can offer to guests in advance of the experience, and what can you offer them after? 
  • Continue to run your events - Were you planning on having a Mother's Day event, or does your venue regularly run a wine dinner or Sunday lunch? Adapt the menu you had planned so you can deliver it instead. You are no longer limited by the total capacity of your venues dining room, so go ahead and try to sell more tickets now too!
  • Keep your trivia and pub quiz nights alive - There's no reason for these nights to stop, deliver them over web conference platforms and keep your loyal patrons engaged with your venue. Sell them food online as an add-on when they book themselves in for the event.
  • Think about your brand - What can you do that is on brand and will resonate with your existing patrons? Consider you're a sports bar, you could organise a famous player or multiple players (we heard they're pretty quiet at the moment too) to watch grand final replays that they played in and have them do an online commentary or panel discussions about that game (see Digital Content Keeps on Giving below too). You can have guests pre-order food when they book the experience so that it gets delivered to them during the live stream. You might have the player snacking on your food during the broadcast and branded merchandise could be displayed at points throughout the video too. 
  • Themed Dinners, Collaborations and Cook Offs - Team up with your industry friends and think of creative ways you can deliver what you might have otherwise done in person in the past. Can you organise your own celebrity chef cook off or mystery ingredient challenge? 
  • Teach Advanced or Unique Cooking Techniques - Is your venue known for a particular specialty or cooking style? Are your chefs experts at cooking with fire, do you have experience with fermented foods, is seafood your specialty? Think about the other chefs and advanced home cooks out there who might use their spare time to improve their skills and explore new cooking techniques. Run single classes, or get them to book in for a "series" of events over a number of weeks.
  • Digital Content Keeps on Giving - When you run an experience online via a video feed, or web conference, you can record it and keep a copy forever. You can continue to sell it online for a very long time, for example, the initial experience might be set at a higher price point and include a delivery of packaged goods. After the event you can put the content online for a nominal charge to download later. This is particularly applicable for the "educational" style content. It also gives you content to resurface in your social media campaigns in the future.
  • Virtual Reality - OK, we're getting excited now but let's assume that some VR and digital agency businesses are in tough times too. Think about who you might be able to partner up with, if an animation or digital studio is light on work, they might be prepared to take on a creative project with you and offer something really unique!

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