Chicken wings and beer with sauces.
Unsplash/Tim Toomey

During these difficult times, it’s important to give customers a reason to keep coming back.

How to Capitalize on Online Orders During Sporting Events

With indoor dining at limited capacity in most states, restaurants are doubling down on online ordering for big game days.

Many restaurant owners count on major sporting events to drive large groups of people to their locations on game day. With COVID-19 dining restrictions and social distancing guidelines still in place throughout most of the country, restaurant owners are scrambling to drive increased traffic to online orders for carryout, curbside pickup or delivery during sporting events. While it may not have the energy and excitement of a packed restaurant or bar cheering along with a game, restaurants can still help their customers create an enjoyable game day experience from the comfort of their homes. Here are just a few ways restaurant owners can maximize online orders on game days.

Dive Into the Data

A POS system doesn’t just help operate a business by managing orders and taking payments. It is also a treasure trove of critical information about customers. Few restaurant owners have the time or the experience to complete a detailed data analysis, which is why most POS systems come with turnkey reporting options that make it easy to identify patterns and trends. Restaurant owners should take a look at data from previous game days including which menu items are most popular, what times of day the most orders come through, what items didn’t sell and where customers are coming from, whether it’s a direct order or through a third-party delivery service. Having this data at their fingertips will help restaurant owners create a well-informed marketing and promotional strategy for big game day events.

Rally Loyalty Members

During these difficult times, it’s important to give customers a reason to keep coming back. There’s no better way to do this than through a loyalty program. Most loyalty programs provide tiered rewards to guide customers through the process: rewards for joining the program, downloading the app, referring friends and more. Restaurant owners should be strategic about offers by testing a few different options (dollar-off, percentage-off or free item offers) as well as exclusive, limited-time game day offers for loyalty members to see which ones prompt the highest amount of additional spending.

Promote High-Profit Items

Another important data exercise is evaluating and identifying the most profitable menu items and focusing promotional efforts on those items. It seems fundamental in the restaurant world, but many “big-seller” menu items don’t offer the same profit margin as other items. Restaurant owners should do a deep dive into what’s performing well in terms of both sales and profitability, and create game day promotions accordingly.

Leverage Email Subscribers & Social Media Followers

Customers that subscribe to emails or are engaged social media followers should also be treated as loyalty members on their respective channels. Email is a great way to send targeted

offers and promotions directly to the customers who will appreciate them the most. Restaurant owners can utilize social media to offer promotions, prompt engagement and give away prizes to engaged users.

Think Creatively

To stand out from other restaurant brands, it’s important to think big and get creative. That doesn’t mean restaurants need to hire an expensive menu consultant to overhaul their entire menu. It’s as simple as taking a deeper look at their menus and strategizing how items can be marketed differently. Maybe a restaurant has several signature appetizers that could be packaged together for a “game day appetizer sampler,” with a perceived value attached by bundling them together. Many restaurants have seen success by packaging up large-portion entrees and marketing them as family meals. Perhaps creating a new “limited time” wing sauce specifically for college basketball season will drive interest. Better yet, using social media to crowdsource ideas is a cost-effective tactic. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, restaurant owners can make simple tweaks to existing menu items to drive interest.

While the sports experience will look different this year, there are still ample opportunities for restaurant owners to capture revenue on important game days. Through analyzing data, thinking creatively, and leveraging available resources, restaurants can capitalize on online orders and cater to happy customers.

Graham Campbell, COO of Givex, a global cloud-based operations management solution designed to streamline business efficiencies and generate valuable and actionable customer data with offices in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, Brazil, Singapore and newly opened in Mexico City. Campbell is an innovative technology executive with over 13 years of experience in the payment, e-commerce and point of sale sectors. He started at Givex in March 2006 and since then has held positions including: VP of Projects & Implementations, VP and General Manager of Givex’s point-of-sale (POS), Senior VP of Product Development and now holds the position of the company’s Chief Operating Officer.

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