When the pandemic first hit the restaurant industry, two services came in to save the day: takeout and delivery.
But now that in-person dining has returned, restaurants are shifting their focus to dine-in services. While it’s true that customers want to get back into restaurants, this doesn’t mean that restaurateurs should take their foot off the gas when it comes to takeout and delivery. Research from AAL shows that almost 50% of Canadians intend to order food online at least once a week after the pandemic. Plus, Statistics Canada reports that 50.7% of bars and restaurants in Canada will likely adopt contactless delivery or pickup options on a permanent basis.
In-House vs. Third-Party Applications
Most restaurants employ the help of third-party applications to manage their takeout and delivery. The reason for this is simple: they are a tremendous marketing tool for your restaurant. You would be hard-pressed to find a better way to attract new customers that is both simple and allows you to be almost completely hands-off.
That being said, there are certain qualities of third-party apps that make it challenging for restaurant owners to maintain them long term. Commission fees, for example, can make a restaurant’s already slim margins even thinner and challenge their ability to turn a profit.
Offering Your Own Takeout and Delivery
So the question is this: now that you’ve attracted loyal customers using third-party apps, is there a way to provide takeout and delivery without drawbacks? Of course there is! Simply put, you can offer your own takeout and delivery. This seems daunting, but it can be made simple if you find the right solution.
Needless to say, there are some caveats you need to consider. Having to manage delivery drivers and an ordering platform are two obvious ones. However, on the other hand, there are many reasons why it would benefit your restaurant and customers, such as:
1. Create customer loyalty for yourself
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 will generally pick the restaurant that gives them the best value regardless of who it is. In other words, it’s much less personal.
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.
What’s more, 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
As many restaurateurs now know, third-party delivery apps charge anywhere from 15-30% per order for their services, 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. However, once you have paid the higher fee to acquired a new customer, you can save on this cost by providing 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
One thing to note about third-party apps is that they do a lot of the work for you, i.e., advertising, menu creation, etc… 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 reason why Canadians 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 work and the way you serve your guests has changed drastically, and though we’re all looking forward to the day we don’t have to seat guests 6 feet apart, many aspects of the new dining experience are likely to outlast the pandemic. According to a recent study by McKinsey, guests now expect the safety and convenience of a digital experience with more than 75% of consumers using mobile and web for menus, ordering and payment. 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. Mobile viewing is often an afterthought when menus are designed as PDFs or web pages. This leads to a poor guest experience with guests having 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 digital 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 will keep your guests happy while also saving you time.
4. Include your branding
You spend plenty of time and money creating the perfect ambience and guest experience in your establishment. For takeout guests though, 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 an 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 digital 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 a restaurant needs to offer contactless payment and ordering options for them to feel safe returning to dine-in. Choose a solution that’s more than a menu and create a seamless guest experience with dine-in and takeout mobile ordering.