Industry News | September 24, 2010

Facebook, Meet Online Ordering

image used with permission.

NetWaiter, creators of an innovative online ordering system for restaurants, has taken its product a step further with the addition of a Facebook interface, bringing online ordering into the realm of social media.

 "To our knowledge, NetWaiter is the first online ordering provider to offer this service," says Jared Shimoff, senior director at NetWaiter.

Restaurants that use online ordering routinely report increased order frequency from the same customer, and individual order sizes track at least 20 percent higher. But the uninitiated often observe that online ordering does little to generate new customers.

"That's not necessarily true," Shimoff says. "There are many ways a restaurant can use online ordering to generate new customers. This Facebook interface takes advantage of social media and the power of word of mouth, which is the best way to get new faces into your restaurant."

When a consumer logs on to a restaurant website using the NetWaiter service, they can, at any time, click on a Facebook icon on the restaurant's website. This automatically posts to their Facebook site that they ordered from that particular restaurant. All of their friends on the social media site can then see where this person likes to eat. The posting on Facebook also creates a link in that person's post, so any of their friends can immediately click on the link and view the menu of that restaurant. It also creates a permanent presence on the Facebook site of the person that ordered, so in the future they can access that restaurant's online ordering site very quickly.

"The strategy driving this feature is based on the knowledge that referrals are the most powerful vehicle for generating new restaurant customers," Shimoff says. "If you see that one of your Facebook friends has been to a restaurant, you are more likely to patronize that restaurant yourself, either online or in person. This will be a valuable marketing tool to restaurants that use NetWaiter for their online ordering."

Shimoff says that the Facebook feature is automatically provided, at no additional charge, to every restaurant using NetWaiter. He adds that the offering is made possible through Facebook's Open Graph protocol.

"As soon as it became available, NetWaiter's development team incorporated Facebook's login access to NetWaiter and all our customers," Shimoff says. "We realized the potential.”

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