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)

    • 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/.