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The Ultimate Guide: Growing Your Venue with Food Delivery Apps

Growth Strategies 21 minute read 06 August 2019

How important is delivery and takeaway for modern restaurant businesses?

Significantly. Just listen to Hudson Riehle, SVP of Research and Innovation Services at the National Restaurant Association:

From the consumer perspective, there’s nothing more convenient than having the restaurant come to them. The off-premise component has been primarily responsible for industry growth over the past decade, and it won’t be decreasing into 2018 and beyond

The world, clearly, is changing when it comes to dining out habits; people increasingly appear to be searching for easier ways to consume restaurant-cooked food from the comfort of their own home.

The stats tell their own story, too:

If you’re a restaurateur, you might be inclined to shrug off the above in the belief that online ordering growth is only of interest to pizza outlets and others that have been on the takeaway list for decades, such as Indian, Chinese and Turkish cuisine.

But that’s missing the point. Thanks to services such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats, virtually any restaurant can tap into a market which is simply colossal and with zero dent on either their brand image or internal processes.

Think about it; as a restaurateur, wouldn’t you love to take advantage of the fact that 60% of US consumers order delivery or takeout once a week?

That’s a huge potential market and one that you absolutely have a right to serve!

Is this the end of the restaurant as we know it?

Melissa Wilson is the principal of Technomic, a well-regarded research firm, and traditional restaurateurs would be forgiven for being a little concerned about her summary of the modern diner:

It’s a lot of people who do not want to go out to a restaurant for the occasion. We hear from drivers how often people answer the door in their pajamas.

Melissa Wilson

Technomic

Thankfully, if you’re a traditional restaurateur, there’s no need to panic.

Consumers will always have a desire to dine out. As convenient as a takeaway might be, it can’t beat the atmosphere and zero-hassle nature of booking a restaurant table at which to treat a loved one, the family or impress a business contact.

It’s why diners still eat out 4.9 times per week on average.

If you’re an independent restaurateur, this is great news, because it means there’s a latent source of revenue you can take advantage of whilst still maintaining your traditional table service income.

In fact, if you’re looking for a growth strategy, adding online ordering to your business plan is one of the best ways to give your business that all important leg-up to its next chapter.

In this article, you’ll discover the following:

To keep things simple, we’ve narrowed down the three delivery companies we think deserve your attention - Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats. One will be right for your business, but please read on to find out which one that is!

How do food delivery companies work?

We all like a simple solution, and the three delivery companies we’re considering in this blog post offer just that. Granted, they go about it in different ways, but that’s why you’ve reached this page!

Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats provide restaurants with the ability to accept and process online orders. This is usually done via a listing on their website and respective app. All technical details are taken care of, from the ordering process through to payment processing and delivery of the order to the kitchen team.

In return, they take a commission of the sale based on a percentage of the total order (although there are some other costs to take into account).

The orders are delivered either by the restaurant themselves or by third party contractors chosen by the delivery platform.

The advantages and disadvantages of Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats

Before we look at each delivery service, let’s consider the pros and cons of this as a business strategy for independent restaurants.

Pros of adding online delivery to your restaurant

 Related Article: Here's why your restaurant should consider introducing delivery

Cons of adding online delivery to your restaurant

Now, let’s look at all three services in detail.

Deliveroo

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Established in 2013 and based in London, Deliveroo can now be found in two-hundred cities throughout the world, and you’ll doubtless have seen a few of their brand-adorned cycle delivery staff whizzing past you on the street.

Key facts

Summary

Deliveroo claims it could increase your sales by up to 30%. Genuine insight thanks to their experience in the market or marketing hyperbole? It’s difficult to say, but few can deny the presence of their brand on the high street; you’re unlikely to take a walk down many city streets without seeing one of their drivers or cyclist pass you at some stage.

They’ve thus far partnered with over 80,000 restaurants across the world, and offer a great app for customers. By tapping into their rider network you can reach customers quickly, but they’re just as happy for you to use your own delivery method if you have drivers on hand.

Just Eat

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Just Eat can currently be found in 12 markets across the world and is now listed on the FTSE 100. It’s been around the longest of our three comparative platforms, having launched in 2001.

Key facts

Summary

Chances are, if you’ve had a takeaway or two within the last few months, you (or another member of your party) will have ordered the food via Just Eat.

In the UK, it’s arguably more ubiquitous than the US, but they’re expanding rapidly and are definitely worthy of your attention if you want to add online delivery to your restaurant’s range of services.

They’ll ‘do the marketing’ for your restaurant, which essentially means you can benefit from their no doubt considerable spend on Google advertising and SEO by having your listing on their website appear prominently within relevant local searches.

Just Eat claims to offer savings of up to £13,000 per year thanks to partnership discounts with utilities providers, insurers and more. Will that help offset the commission you’ll pay for their service? Possibly, but it pays to do your sums before diving in!

Uber Eats

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From the founders of the now ubiquitous taxi service, UberEats was launched in 2014 and is based in San Francisco, California.

Key facts

Summary

Love it or loathe it, Uber has arguably transformed public transport. And, for as much as they have angered traditional taxi services, the company’s ability to disrupt markets with ultra-convenient digital services for customer cannot be underestimated.

Are they likely to do the same in the food delivery sector? Possibly. With typical Uber confidence, the US-based firm claims to help restaurants deliver orders in an average of fifteen minutes while maintaining the best possible food quality.

Restaurants can also track orders from the point of receipt to the customer’s door and benefit from the service’s promotional work and continual iteration of the service.

What do consumers look for in food delivery?

Most of us have used an online food delivery service at some stage - or been on the receiving end of an order placed by a friend or relative.

It’s a near ubiquitous part of modern day life, but what do modern diners look for in an online food delivery service? We think it boils down to 5 key elements:

  1. Immediate availability. Menu browsing and ordering should be available on any device they have to hand (be it a smartphone, tablet or laptop).
  2. Superior ease-of-use. Food delivery apps should be instantly usable without having to refer to a user guide. Like the best smartphone apps out there, they need to be immediately familiar by taking advantage of the latest tools and APIs software developers are given by device manufacturers.
  3. Ease of payment. The best food delivery services will offer the most convenient forms of payment, from Apple Pay to cash on collection.
  4. Delivery status. Where is it? How long ago did we order? How do I contact the restaurant? Such information should be immediately to hand.
  5. Feedback. If you’re either exceptionally delighted or dismayed by your takeaway, you’ll probably want to tell the restaurant (and world) about it. As scary as that might sound if you’re a restauranteur, online reviews are vital if you want to draw in more customers (read our tips on how to encourage great online reviews).

 Related Article: How to encourage great TripAdvisor reviews

How to pick the right delivery company

We’ve hopefully gone some way to convincing you that online food ordering is a smart move for your business.

But, how do you pick the right delivery company? More importantly, how do you use them effectively to ensure they’re doing the right job for your restaurant?

Here are 5 tips for finding - and using - the perfect delivery partner for your restaurant.

Wrapping up

We hope this post has proved useful. Online ordering may or may not be right for your restaurant - that’s entirely your call.

However, we’d recommend seriously considering adding it to your service, not least because the process is made far easier with the support of one of the platforms we’ve looked at today.

The right platform for you depends entirely on your brand, customer base and ability to absorb the delivery company charges and operational overheads. Pick the right one, though, and you should find a very healthy new source of revenue and growth for your independent restaurant.

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