How To Get Customers To Order Directly From Your Restaurant

Third Party Delivery Service Providers are a great way to find new guests. Hungry consumers use these marketplaces as a way to find new restaurants that will deliver to them. They’re easy to use and have all kinds of options.

Unfortunately the DSPs control your customer and charge a high percentage to the restaurant. That’s why you’ve got to prioritize getting guests who have their first experience via the apps to make all subsequent orders directly. You need control of the guest journey, the experience and the revenue. 

This quick guide will show you 5 strategies and tactics that will get your guests to place orders directly with your native ordering system.

In Bag Conversion Tool & The Digital Table Touch

Create small cards or notes that you can put into every order you get through a third party. What to put on those cards? That is the key here.

Most restaurants would include their logo, a QR code that takes them to their website, the URL of your website and maybe a discount. That makes sense, right?

Think about it though, they literally just ordered from you and are enjoying your food right now.  Why would they need instructions to order again? Also, it’s not like any of us still keep a menu drawer where it would make sense to keep that card. RIGHT?

Here’s the boss move:

Instead of a call to action to order again, ask them to give you feedback. How was the meal? Did everything turn out all right? Did they enjoy it? How do you know if you aren’t there to ask?

Do a digital table touch … send them to a website where they can share their feedback and make sure you are collecting their phone number and email address. That way you can email them a week later and suggest they order again … when they are ready!

*Pro-tip* Offer an incentive like an enter to win if they give you their feedback.

Need help with this? It’s EXACTLY what Ovation does. It’s incredible and one of my favorite tools we use at Handcraft Burgers & Brew.

Convenience Tax

It’s totally a common practice now and consumers expect that online ordering, especially from the third-party delivery service providers, costs more and has extra fees. It’s been accepted as the norm.

Take advantage of this and increase your prices on third-party sites by around 20%. I pay a convenience fee to do anything anywhere else, why shouldn’t I expect the same when going through a delivery partner that isn’t the restaurant?

Look at it as a convenience tax. They want to order from those apps because its easy, they are already logged in, maybe they got a discount …. Ok, no problem, that comes with a cost.

The Rolling Stones

When Mick, Keith and the boys take stage to headline a festival, they do a 45 minute set of their greatest hits. You get “Satisfaction,” “Brown Sugar,” “Start Me Up” and the other big  jams. But when you see the Stones on their headline tour at your local normodome playing the 2.5 hour set you get all the faves, songs from the new album and fan fave deeper cuts.

Think of your online ordering the same way. Your menu on your website through your online ordering has the whole catalog. Every item that you offer for delivery is available. Build your own set list!

But on the third-party sites, just do the greatest hits. Offer only your most popular items, the crowd pleasers. Keep the limited time offers and speciality items to yourself. For those guests who want the really good stuff, make them come direct.

(PS The Best Stones tune ever is “Under My Thumb”!)

Earth, Wind and Fire

If you know a guest ONLY uses a third-party, you should send them a message that encourages them to try ordering direct.

If you know a guest switches from ordering via third-party to then ordering direct, you should send them a message to say thank you.

If you know when a guest orders directly from you but then goes back to ordering via third-party, you should send them a message explaining the benefits of ordering directly.

That requires knowing. That requires segmenting. That requires marketing automation. Or as I call it, Earth, Wind and Fire.

If you have a view into your guest’s purchase behavior and you can create a segment of guests who do this, you can then set up automated marketing that triggers when the guests enter into those pre-qualified segments.

Sounds easier said than done? Yeah, that would be the case, unless you had the right tool. Check out Bikky. Earth, Wind & Fire is just one of the many awesome things it does and exactly how we use it at Handcraft Burgers & Brew. 

Head them off at the Pass

If you were playing another team in a sport and you knew the exact play they were going to run, you could use that knowledge to run a play that counteracts their strategy.

Look at the analytics on your website. Where does most of your traffic come from? I’m willing to bet Google is the top answer. Why is that?

When people get hungry and they don’t know where to order or are looking for something new, what do they do? They go to Google and search “Best Burger near me,” or whatever it is that they are craving at that

How do you make sure your restaurant is found at the top of that search and NOT a link to order via a third party delivery service? It’s called listing management. 

You make sure that every single field you can possibly fill out in your Google My Business profile is filled out and it’s up to date 365 – 24/7. The most important of which is your menu, item descriptions and photos of your food and menu. If you make a change on your menu, you should also update Google My Business. 

As it relates to getting people to order directly from your restaurant, there are 3 things you need to do:

  1. Make sure the direct link to your online ordering is in the “menu link field”
  2. Include that same link in the “order ahead links” section
  3. Be sure to mark the star next to the order ahead link as “Preferred link” 

By doing this, you’ll optimize your Google profile for online ordering. You’ll also optimize your restaurant to come up higher in search results.

*Pro-tip* Update ALL of your listings with menu information to see even higher search results. This includes Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, Tripadvisor, Bing, Yahoo, Apple Maps, Siri, Alexa and anywhere else information about your restaurant can be found online.

Want the easy button? Use Marqii. I can’t recommend it enough. All you have to do is update Marqii and it updates all of the other sites with just a  push of a button. Need to add photos, update a menu item or change your hours of operation for a holiday? That will take you less than 5 minutes in Marqii and then it will be updated everywhere. 

That’s what we do at Handcraft Burgers & Brew and I can tell you that beyond a shadow of a doubt, 90% of the people who end up on our Google My Business got their by searching “burger near me” and keep in mind, we are in Bryant Park NYC, just a few blocks away from Times Square. There are A LOT of Burgers near us!

Go Dom Cobb

Ever see that move Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the character Dom Cobb? They find a way to enter people’s minds and manipulate them by placing an idea in their subconscious. Well guess what … you can do it too and it doesn’t require some kind of future technology.

What happens when people get a craving? They go to Google to search for a restaurant to satisfy it. Well we already discussed how to win that battle. But what if instead of using Google or Yelp, they open up GrubHub, DoorDash or UberEats? Welp, you lost that battle. Now you’ve got to use the conversion tools above.

But what if in that moment, right before they go to search, you can slip that idea into their subconscious that they should order from you. What if you could Dom Cobb them into wishing their were eating from your restaurant?

Well you can… with Facebook and Instagram ads.

Facebook and Instagram ads are an inexpensive, highly targeted and flexible way to find people who would love your food and service. Food is the second most popular type of content on social media (fashion is number 1) so that means people are used to looking at pictures of your lunch on social. 

Placing an ad with a great looking picture of your food and compelling caption is hardly an interruption. It’s an inception!

Want to make it super simple and easy? Use an incredible tool called Targetable. They take your data, your information, your content and create your ads for you so that you  never have to log into Meta Business Manager again. HALLELUJAH! 

Go Faster

That’s it! Doesn’t sound too hard, does it?

Want more tactics and tips on how to do it, including how to turn your social media into an online ordering jackpot?

Check out my book “How To Get Customers To Order Directly From You Instead Of Using Third Party Apps.” In the book you’ll discover how to:

  • Stop Your Guests From Ordering Via Third-Party Apps Right Away
  • Take Your Own Orders
  • Get More Orders Into Your Own System
  • Increase Order Frequency
  • Quickly Organize Your Google My Business For Optimal Search Results
  • Social Media Tactics That Get Your Followers To Place Online Orders


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