Moving a restaurant online
If your customers can’t visit your restaurant for a meal, then selling online gives you the option to let your customers pick up their meals, have meals delivered to them, or purchase gift cards to share with others. Having an online presence also lets you provide customers with more information about your business, a place for them to leave reviews, and a way for them to sign up for emails from your business.
For more suggestions, refer to our checklist of things to consider when moving a restaurant online.
Start your online store
To move your restaurant online, visit shopify.com and start your online store with a 14-day free trial. Enter your email, password, and business name. Your business name will be used in your store’s default URL. After you start your trial, you can purchase or connect an existing URL for your default URL.
Create an online menu
To build your restaurant’s menu online, you need to add products and prices to your online store. Your menu items need descriptive titles and accurate descriptions.
There are different ways to get your products into your Shopify account, depending on how many products you need to add and whether you already have any information about them online:
- To add products directly in the Shopify admin, refer to Add a new product.
- To add products in bulk using a CSV file, refer to Importing products with a CSV file.
- If your products exist on a third-party POS software, then you can import them into Shopify using the all-new Shopify POS.
- If your products are already on a third-party ecommerce website, then check if you can use the Store Importer app.
After you add your products, you can organize them into collections. Collections let you highlight certain products on different pages of your website, apply discount codes to specific groups of products, or feature certain products on your homepage. For more information, refer to Collections.
Add gift cards
Along with your products, you can also sell gift cards. Gift cards are a fast way for your business to sell online. Your customers can purchase gift cards, which are delivered by email. By default, the gift cards that you create never expire.
As you launch new products that can be purchased online or make your products available for local delivery or pickup, customers can redeem gift cards at checkout. For more information, refer to Selling gift cards.
Choose a theme
Before you share your online store with your customers, you should choose a theme that reflects your restaurant's brand. If you select Restaurants as your industry when you create your store, then the Express theme is added automatically.
Express is a free theme by Shopify. Express is designed to get you online quickly, even if you have limited product photography or a small inventory. It includes features designed for restaurants, like a collapsible cart drawer and product modals that make it easy for your customers to build an order.
Express also includes a featured collections section, which lets you display multiple collections in tabs. You can use this section to organize your collections into a menu on your home page. For example, you can feature an appetizers collection, a main dishes collection, and a desserts collection in the same section. Users can navigate between tabs in the section to quickly review and select from your menu.
You can customize your theme's branding, layout, and other settings using the theme editor.
Customize your home page and create pages
Each product and collection that you create is automatically given a page on your online store, but your home page and any other additional pages need to be manually set up. You can set up these pages by editing your theme and creating pages.
Your home page is usually the first page people access when they find your business online. This page can include your branding, business hours, delivery options, special offers, and any important information your customers need to know.
You can also feature products and collections on your home page. If you're using a theme optimized for one-page stores, like Express, then this may be the only page you decide to use in your store.
You can create custom pages for other information that might interest your customers. Many businesses have the following custom pages:
- About us
- Contact us
- About our menu
- Business hours
For information on how to create custom pages, refer to Pages.
Policy pages help customers understand how your business operates, and explain how you handle delivery, refunds, and privacy. These policies are shown by default in your checkout, but you can create direct links to them in your website’s menus.
Shopify provides templates for many policies, which you can adjust to fit your business. For more information on creating and editing policy, refer to Adding store policies.
Payments and tips
Before you can accept any orders on your online store, you need to set up a payment provider. After your payment provider is set up, you can also accept tips from your customers when they place their orders.
If you sign up for a Shopify account in a country eligible for the Shopify Payments payment gateway, then your business is automatically set up with Shopify Payments and you can accept payments right away. Before you accept your first order, make sure that your products are allowed within the Shopify Payments Terms of Service.
If you aren’t eligible for Shopify Payments, then you need to sign up for a third-party payment gateway to accept credit card payments online. When deciding on a payment gateway, research the cost of credit card and transaction fees, terms of service, payout schedules, and available currencies. Check which gateways are available for your country, sign up for an account with the gateway that you want, and then connect it to your Shopify account.
You can enable the option for customers to leave tips when they place an order. You can enable tips in your checkout settings.
For more information on accepting tips in your online checkout, refer to Setting up tipping options.
Set up pickup and delivery
If you or your staff can travel and deliver to your customer's door, then you can offer local delivery. You can also offer pickup for your customers' orders, so they can come pick up their order when it’s ready.
To provide local delivery to your customers, you can use the Shopify Local Delivery app to create order lists, view a map of your delivery locations, and optimize delivery routes. In addition, you can use the Shopify mobile app while you deliver orders so that you can update the order status in real time.
If you have more than one location and you want to offer delivery options for all of them, then you need to create and manage your locations to make sure your customers can order from the location that is closest to them.
Enable local pickup
You can set up the option for customers to pick up their online orders at your retail store, curbside, or any location that you choose.
To do this, you need to enable the local pickup option for each location where customers can go to get their orders.
The shipping rate for local pickup is set to Free and cannot be changed.
Each pickup order requires you or your staff to verify that each item is in stock. When you have verified each item, you can send a notification to the customer that the order is ready. You can also print a pickup slip to attach to the order.
When a customer comes to get their order, you need to change the order status from unfulfilled to fulfilled using your Shopify admin or Shopify app. This signals to you and your staff that the order has been picked up and no further action is required.
To learn more about setting up local pickup, refer to Local pickup for online orders.
Enable local delivery
From your Shopify admin, click Settings > Shipping.
In the Local delivery section, find the location you want to enable and click Manage.
Enable This location offers local delivery.
In the Delivery area section, specify the area where you want to offer delivery.
In the Information at checkout section, set a delivery fee, a minimum order price for local delivery, and any information you want shown during checkout, such as what time local delivery is available, and on what days of the week.
The Shopify Local Delivery app
To use the Shopify Local Delivery app, the following requirements must be met:
- You have to set up local delivery in your store.
- Staff need an active login for your Shopify store.
- Staff need the apps staff permission.
For more information, refer to Shopify Local Delivery app.
Let your customers know you’re open for business
There is no guaranteed foot traffic when you open an online business; you need to let customers know where you are. There are many options available for businesses to market online. You might need to experiment with a few different options before you find the ones that work best for your business.
The use of social media can help you connect directly with your local customers who are already familiar with your restaurant. You can use use things like Instagram posts and Facebook updates to let your customers know that you are now online, and ready to take their orders.
In general, the more links that exist on the internet that lead to your online store, the better. Consider writing a blog article about your new online store and sending it to various local blogs. Asking them to publish an article about you, perhaps in exchange for adding a link to their blog on your store, can be a good way to bring traffic to your new website.
Other methods to get more links include reaching out to social media influencers, offering contests, and posting your own blog content.
Advertise your business
Using advertisements is another way to reach out to people who you feel are most likely to place an order for your products. Advertising your business in your local area helps to let customers know that you are still open and taking orders. For example, you could develop a partnership with your local radio station to advertise that you are offering delivery.
You can also use targeted ads in search engines and social media sites to advertise your restaurant. You can specify an audience for your ads so that the ad provider shows your ads only to people with the criteria that you choose. For example, as a local restaurant, you can set your ads to appear only to people who are located in the city or town that your restaurant is in.