How are most Cape Town based restaurants selling online?
Level 3 lockdown is among us. Some restaurants have now opened their doors or have made plans to create turnover from deliveries. I spent the better part of a day going through over 150 restaurant websites in Cape Town to get a sense of how restaurants are responding. The reality is that while the majority of websites reflect the impact of Covid-19 there's so few restaurants that seem to be using their website to spin up online orders, offer gift cards or the ability to donate to their staff. It's a bit perplexing as most of the websites being used have free eCommerce functionality. For the majority it seems Mr D and Uber Eats are the primary options for going digital. From scanning social media it's clear that most restaurants are using Facebook and Instagram to communicate with their clientele. Many restaurants that would've never considered takeaway made transitions into that space. The few restaurants that have enabled eCommerce and created mailing lists have been able to keep their loyal customers in the loop for how they can support them and continue to enjoy their services.
I'd like to share some stats on the technology powering the bulk of Cape Town's restaurants and highlight a few stand out sites. The future of restaurants will require a stronger investment in a omnichannel (in person/online) experience. How many restaurants that you frequently visit reached out to you during this lockdown period? I'm guessing not many because so few are equipped.
Technology Powering Restaurants Websites
Why is WordPress so Popular.
Around the world WordPress is the most popular way to spin up a website. There's tons of themes and plugins (apps). Many freelancers, developers and agencies love WordPress so finding someone to make you a site within your budget is also very doable. One of the biggest selling points of WordPress is the ability to retain a framework that can handle your content (pages, blog posts etc) while maintaining some flexibility to change designs. If I had to guess I would say the two biggest factors for it's popularity with restaurants is the prevalence of themes and it's affordability. It's perplexing why more restaurants using WordPress wouldn't utilise WooCommerce to spin up donations for staff and/or gift cards for future use. My assumption is that most restaurants using WordPress are still reliant on outside developers and would be reluctant to delve into the costs associated with eCommerce.
- Divi and Avada are tied as the most popular theme used by restaurants with 8 using each.
- Salient theme for WordPress came in 2nd with 5 sites using it.
- Rosa theme for WordPress came in 3rd with 3 sites using it.
- Shopify theme Narrative came in 4th with 3 sites using it.
- Enfold theme for WordPress came in 5th with 3 sites using it.
*Note that we are not able to detect Squarespace or Wix themes/templates.
Top Sites (static and eCommerce)Tjing Tjing powered by WordPress and a custom theme and recently added a section taking orders via wowfingers.
Beluga powered by WordPress and The Gem theme.
Kong powered by Wix and launched an online store since lockdown.
Mantra Cafe powered by Squarespace.
The Poke Co powered by Wix seems to be working on creating online store functionality, hopefully coming soon.
Mulberry & Prince powered by Wix.
La Tete powered by WordPress and Avada Theme.
Belly of the Beast powered by Shopify and using the Brooklyn Theme I really like the simple navigation and layout. During normal operating times they offer very clear dates/times for booking and checkout. I wish more more restaurants implemented such a simple system that integrated well with email. More recently they implemented a system that enables you to track your delivery down to the minute.
Tiger's Milk powered by WordPress and WooCommerce with Avada theme. The popup from the onset makes it incredibly clear that Tiger's Milk has put a well thought out plan in place for purchasing food or vouchers online. The utilisation of the Whatsapp plugin is also a nice feature.
The Kind Kitchen is powered by Shopify and Debut Theme. The site features a simple assortment of groceries and pre-made food items for sale. It's simple, it's clear and it works.
Hudsons is powered by WordPress and Salient theme. The site features how you can utilise other services for eCommerce without having it part of the native experience. Hudsons links out to Orderin and Voucherplan.
Truth Coffee is powered by Shopify and Narrative Theme. They offer a number of different products including a subscription coffee plan. The site is beautiful and the way they position and promote their subscription are very well thought out.
El Burro Mercado is an online store launched by the popular restaurant El Burro where you can buy some of your favourite Mexican food ingredients and foods. It's powered by Shopify.
In the short term restaurants are struggling to make major innovations to they way they operate their websites and solutions like Uber Eats instantly enable digital commerce for them. A stronger long term strategy would be where restaurants have their own eCommerce offerings would enable them to build up a stronger newsletter base (long term value) and allow them to have more over all flexibility in how they engage with their customers, potentially enabling pivots. Direct sales to consumers also means more profit, that always helps.