Millennials (people born between the 1980s and 1995) get a lot of grief for collapsing industries (see cinemasdiamonds and golf), but they don’t get enough credit for the markets they created. The next time you use services like Mr Delivery, UberEATS and OrderIn, thank a millennial. It’s their insistence on speed, convenience and practicality that has made online ordering in the food services industry a necessary and profitable add-on for restaurants.

But millennials are spoilt for choice, so it’s essential to ensure your online ordering is perfect – you might not get a second chance.

An eye-catching website

The first impression of your business that customers get in the digital age is your website. Digital natives have high expectations for the platforms they use. They expect easy-to-navigate interfaces that are also easy on the eye. Online ordering is about convenience, so the last thing you want is a website that confuses potential customers. Keep it simple. Products on promotion should feature prominently, the navigation bar or menu should be clear and calls-to-action (such as “place order” or “checkout” buttons must be strategically placed to drive visitors along the online ordering process.

Choose visuals over verbiage

Attention spans are becoming shorter, which makes words one of the least impactful methods of communication. What always works better at getting and keeping people’s attention is imagery. This is especially important in the food services industry. A well-taken picture of a gourmet burger has a better chance of whetting a potential customer’s appetite than a florid description. So invest in a good food photographer and limit the amount of copy on your website. When it comes to selling food, always choose visuals over verbiage.

Add a delivery service

An online ordering service exists for two primary reasons: to order food for collection or for delivery. Both have their advantages, but the height of convenience is food delivery. Adding a delivery element to your ordering process not only pleases and attracts customers, it’s also an added revenue stream for your restaurant. Collection orders are processed for free but you can charge extra for delivery.

Make an impact with hover ads

Pop-up ads enjoyed a good run as the best way to grab the attention of people online. Then they became too aggressive and people became desensitised to them and, eventually, annoyed. We invented ad-blockers so we wouldn’t have to deal with them any more. But the need still existed for marketers to capture the attention of people browsing the web.

Enter the hover ad. It’s a lot like a pop-up in the sense that it also pops up at the viewer when they land on a web page. But unlike pop-up ads, hover ads don’t open a new window and hover over the content on the page until it’s closed. But more importantly, ad-blocker doesn’t work on them. So if you have a promotion, or if you want customers to sign up for your newsletter, hover ads are the best way to get noticed instantly.