How One Pizza Shop Quadrupled Its Online Takeout and Delivery Sales

by Rudy Vener
May 14, 2009

Is your pizza shop like Joe's or like Sam's?

Joe's Pizza shop signed up for online ordering and after a year is still only getting about $200 per month in online sales. Meanwhile, Sam's Pizza shop just a couple of blocks away took in over $1000 in online sales in its third month.

What are Sam and Joe doing differently? Sam is getting the word out to customers.

Joe's mistake is that once he got online ordering he checked it off his list of marketing tasks and promptly forgot about it.

This is like getting a phone number and then not bothering to include the number in your print ads. Do that, and your restaurant will never get a takeout or delivery order.

Few people will know about a restaurant's online ordering unless the restaurant gets the word out. Getting the word out is more than just printing your website address on your menus and coupons.

Too many restaurant owners consistently forget to add three critical words to their print advertising. These three simple words would bring in a lot of business.

What are these three words? They are Order Online At, and they should be placed in front of the restaurant's website every time it appears in print. doesn't really say anything except that Joe's Pizza has a website. Order Online at tells a more exciting story.

Even without these three words, a restaurant may still get new online customers. People occasionally look up the website to find the phone number, look for a menu or get directions. They come to the website looking for something else, and discover online ordering by chance.

But these online customers are just a trickle. While they give a shop some online takeout and delivery business, the number of customers who sign up for online ordering in this way remains very small. With no marketing efforts, a restaurants online ticket counts are likely to be less than a dozen orders per month.

What happens if a restaurant makes an effort to get the word out? Let's take a look at one restaurant which did just that.

Pizza Plus Wings of Manor, Texas signed up with Pizza Galaxy in December of 2008. In their first month, they had about $300 in revenues from 13 orders. In their second month they had slightly more than $600 in online revenue from 28 orders, and in their third month they had over $1150 in online revenue from 48 orders.

They just about quadrupled their online ordering revenue in 3 months.

"We do email marketing, but I also feature it on all print advertisement and I have it painted on my windows," said Geoffrey Loveless, co-owner of Pizza Plus Wings. "We really focus on driving the consumer to the website. Our website is for online ordering. We also have it featured on our on hold marketing as well."

Their efforts paid off. During the first three months over 120 people signed up for online ordering and the count climbs daily.

In most cases adding an online ordering message to existing media is no cost or very low cost. An on hold message may actually save customers who would otherwise hang up and go to a competitor.

Passing drivers seeing an online ordering message in the window are more likely to remember the web address than they are to remember a phone number. All these factors add up, resulting in more business for the restaurant.

"We believe it's the way of the future and very easy operationally," said Loveless.

Does getting the word out mean you should throw out your 50,000 old takeout menus and print new ones with an online ordering message?

Maybe not. There are several things you can do right away to spread the word while using up your existing stock of advertising materials.

  1. Print new box toppers and labels which can be stuck to every pizza box and menu that goes out the door.
  2. Change your On Hold message so waiting customers are told immediately about online ordering. If you do not have a phone system, train your employees to mention it to phone customers.
  3. Put up a window sign or banner with your Order online message to alert passing traffic. Consider getting two or three banners with different color schemes so you can rotate them and keep the message looking fresh.
  4. Put your Order Online message on all your delivery vehicles.
  5. Put table top and counter top displays up with your Online Ordering message.
  6. Ask local non-competing businesses if they would like a freebie to distribute to their customers. Give them a stack of new flyers or coupons with an online special, themed to the business distributing it.
  7. Remember to add your order online message when you print new coupons, flyers, door hangers, takeout menus and when you renew your Yellow pages listing. Eventually your online ordering message will be on every marketing piece you have printed and you will automatically include it.

The difference in online revenue between a restaurant which actively incorporates online ordering into its marketing strategy and one which does not can be in the thousands of dollars per month range. Don't leave it on the table when there are plenty of low cost or even free ways for you to get the word out.

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