Takeout and delivery have existed in the restaurant industry for a long time. However, these options took on a new life when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Suddenly, takeout and delivery weren’t just convenient ways for people to access their favourite food spots – these tools had become the only bridge between restaurants and their customers.
In-person dining has returned, but restaurants who introduced takeout and delivery options during the pandemic have found that these tools are worth keeping permanently. In 2020, the Agri-Food Analytics Lab revealed that almost 50% of Canadians intended to order food online at least once a week upon the return of in-person dining. In early 2021, Statistics Canada reported that 50.7% of bars and restaurants in Canada will likely adopt contactless delivery or pickup options on a permanent basis.
Now, takeout and delivery aren’t merely an emergency approach to keeping restaurants afloat; they’re something that can be perfected to serve customers to the best ability. That’s why decision makers in the restaurant industry should choose a digital dining service that actually works for them. For example, there are in-house options and third-party options.
In-House vs. Third-Party Applications
There’s no way you haven’t seen third-party delivery and takeout applications. These are the big names known for dominating digital stores with delivery apps in recent years – especially in times like the pandemic. As the term “third-party” suggests, these tools are operated by other companies, allowing you to take a hands-off approach. You can easily bring them into your foodservice space to reach a new batch of customers. These services do, however, come with some caveats – notably, high commission fees and an inability to customize the tools.
For those reasons, you may prefer to do things differently. That’s where in-house takeout and delivery tools come in. In-house tools allow you to run things yourself – usually straight from your own POS. Learn below why in-house tools might be the right option for your restaurant.
Offering Your Own Takeout and Delivery
You may be interested in trying in-house takeout and delivery. Perhaps you’ve already attracted loyal customers using third-party apps, or maybe you’ve never tried digital tools at all. Either way, introducing in-house takeout and delivery tools can be both exciting and daunting. How can you tell if you’re really ready to take a hands-on approach to digital dining?
The trick is to find the right solution. If you’re looking for a service to support your in-house digital dining experience, make sure you look for the following benefits.
1. Create customer loyalty for yourself – not for other companies
When customers order food from third-party apps, they aren’t building loyalty to the individual restaurants. Instead, they’re building loyalty to the app. Think of it this way: on a third-party app, customers are given plenty of options, and they’ll typically pick the restaurant that gives them the best value regardless of who it is. In other words, it’s like being in a giant digital food court; it’s a much less personal experience.
By offering your own takeout and delivery service, customers build loyalty to your restaurant and your restaurant only. You can increase this effect even more by offering exclusive online deals or establishing an in-house loyalty program. Keep in mind that customers are happy to support local businesses. According to a DoorDash food trends report, 80 percent of Canadians plan to do more to support local businesses in 2021. Similarly, an AAL report showed that more Canadians have used an online service direct from the restaurant than delivery apps (see the graph below).
2. Save on fees for both you and your guests
How do third-party takeout and delivery apps make their money? Many restaurateurs know the answer: third-party delivery apps charge restaurants anywhere from 15-30% per order for their services. In some ways, this is a fair rate for new customer acquisition. Of course, third-party apps provide great value to restaurants by exposing them to a huge audience of potential customers.
Once your restaurant has paid these fees to acquire new customers, you might want to make the switch to save money and provide your own takeout and delivery. Why pay the acquisition cost more than once when you don’t have to?
While it’s true that these services require additional investments to start, they more than make up for it with the extra revenue incurred from commission-free takeout and delivery orders. Say goodbye to operating at break-even or at a net loss, as many restaurants have had to do during the COVID-19 pandemic (based on research by Restaurants Canada.)
The savings also work for your customers as well. With no extra fees, customers have more room to spend on food and tips, making it a win-win situation.
3. Maintain better control of the quality of food and service
Third-party apps are appealing because they do a lot of the work for you. For example, they take care of advertising, menu creation, and much more. Yet, because of this, the restaurant owner has much less control.
With your own takeout and delivery service, you can control many important aspects of the dining experience.
Some examples include:
- Prices (zero commissions and lower service fees allow you to offer more competitive prices)
- Menu look and feel (being able to dictate your own colour scheme, layouts, and design)
- If you’re looking for guidance on digital menu creation, check out our 6 tips for creating the ultimate contactless menu
- Food quality (you control exactly how fast food gets to your customer, meaning better, hotter food for your guests)
- Branding (being able to display your restaurant’s logo on the packaging and delivery vehicle)
- Service quality (having a say over who delivers the food and how professional they are)
For more on this, take a look at Omnichannel ordering: Why you should take (back) control of your dining experience.
4. Give customers an easier experience
It’s no surprise that people love convenience. In fact, a Food in Canada article reports that convenience is the most popular aspect of takeout and delivery tools among Canadians who order food online. When you offer your own takeout and delivery, you give your customers an easier, simpler service.
With your own takeout and delivery service, customers can order without having to navigate the endless offerings of third-party apps. This means fewer ordering mistakes (which are costly and diminish the overall customer experience), more menu exploration for guests, and a lower probability of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of restaurants.
Even better, you can integrate your digital menu and delivery service directly with your social media and website. This lets customers order from your establishment without having to jump between apps and sometimes even devices. For more on this topic, check out our 5 tips for optimizing your social media to increase online ordering.
Getting Started with Your Own Takeout and Delivery
If you’re thinking about taking control of your restaurant’s takeout and delivery service, App8 can help. With our customizable solutions, we give you the tools you need to offer a seamless, omnichannel dining experience that you control, without the high fees.
Get started today: https://app8solutions.com/online-takeout-ordering/.
The way you serve your guests has changed drastically over the last few years. You may not have to separate your guests’ tables with six feet of space, but there’s still plenty of value in retaining some of the features brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Contactless menus (also called digital menus) are popular among establishments that want to give guests a transparent and safe experience.
According to a study by McKinsey, guests now expect the safety and convenience of a digital experience – more than 75% of consumers use mobile devices and the web to view menus, order and pay. Use these six tips to create a menu that works for you and your guests!
1. Optimize for mobile
The vast majority of your guests will view your menu from their phones. You’ll want to give them access to a contactless menu that looks good and makes sense. Unfortunately, some digital menus are designed as PDFs and desktop-friendly web pages, but they don’t translate well to mobile screens. This leads to a poor experience for guests, who’ll have to zoom in and out, or scroll endlessly to browse your menu. Start the guest experience off right with a menu solution that’s optimized for mobile viewing and allows your guests to browse intuitively.
2. Include photos
No amount of descriptive text can grab someone’s attention like an appetizing photo. Make sure your contactless menu includes images of your actual dishes. If you have an extensive menu, start with your best sellers and if you don’t have professional photos of your menu items already, check out our free guide to food photography for restauranteurs to get started taking your own photos.
3. Allow for real-time updates
It takes time for your guests to discover your restaurant and browse the menu. The last thing they want is to find out the items they decided to order are unavailable. Avoid this situation by choosing a menu solution that allows you to make real-time updates from a mobile device. This way, your guests will have access to an accurate menu, and they’ll have a smoother experience as a result.
4. Include your branding
You spend plenty of time and money creating the perfect ambience and guest experience in your establishment. However, for guests who order for pickup or delivery, your menu is the only window into the experience your restaurant provides. Ensure that your menu captures the personality of your establishment by customizing it with your logo, fonts, and colours.
Speaking of your own branding, check out Takeout and delivery: Why you should offer your own (and how).
5. Use a durable access point
The common access point for digital menus in the restaurant is a printed QR code. When the pandemic started, this solution was a great quick fix, but with 73% of diners saying that their experience is improved by restaurant technology, it’s clear that contactless dining is here to stay. Your menu access point should meet the same standard you expect from everything else that goes on your table.
Choose a physical access point that:
- Has an attractive design
- Is water-resistant
- Is tear-resistant
- Abides by your region’s health and safety rules
6. Allow guests to order directly from the menu
A contactless menu is only the first step in providing a contactless experience. When choosing a digital menu solution, it’s important to think about where the industry is going and how your situation is going to evolve. According to a dataessential study, over 80% of respondents said that, during the early stages of the pandemic, a restaurant would need to offer contactless payment and ordering options for them to feel safe returning to dining in. Now that many restaurants have returned to normal – or some new version of normal – it’s worthwhile to continue offering contactless options.
Choose a solution that’s more than a menu and create a seamless guest experience with dine-in and takeout mobile ordering.