With the explosion of Internet and smart phone use, your customers have come to expect and take advantage of the ability to place their restaurant orders online and receive them quickly. While you may offer online and mobile ordering for your regular diners, have you given your catering options top billing?

If not, it’s time to hone and simplify the catering order process for your customers. Being able to place catering orders online is a significant step up from having to call in or stop by to place their order. Capture catering orders through your website, offer great service and superb food, and you’ll have customers for life. Let’s discuss some ways to attract more catering orders through your restaurant’s website.

1. Add a catering link to your navigation. Make it easy to find your catering information. Give prominence to your catering pages. Add a catering link to your navigation bar. This helps in two ways. First, people looking for catering have easy access to the page. Second, regular diners have a visual memory of your catering options and may remember you the next time they need to cater an event.

2. Offer a catering menu online. Just like your regular online ordering options, offer your full catering menu online. Don’t use a pdf for this, especially if you are offering online ordering options. Place your menu online with ordering buttons. This makes it easier for your catering customer to navigate and much easier for you to update.

Use high-quality, enticing photos of each available catering menu option. Consider grouping items into categories, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, boxed meals, appetizers, desserts, etc. If you offer preset lunch and dinner options, make sure these are easily understandable for your website visitors.

3. Include a frequently asked questions page. Make sure your online catering process is as simple as possible for your website visitor. Remember, you are saving them time by eliminating the step of coming to your business or calling in to order. Plus, you are saving valuable staff time by answering many questions online.

Step back and think about all the questions your customers ask. Filter them, write them down, and then compose your answers. These should go in your frequently asked questions section.

Some FAQs to include:
• Specify whether your catering is offered for pickup or delivery and the requirements for each.
• Tell your customer the minimum and maximum number of people you’ll cater for and the minimum dollar amount of their order.
• Explain how many days or hours in advance they should place the order.
• Note how you deal with special requests.
• Describe your delivery and/or pick-up process.