Restaurants don’t have to be at the mercy of third-party delivery services and can reduce costs by implementing their own online ordering systems.

Globally, most restaurants have either closed shop or are now offering delivery and takeout to stay in business. With contactless delivery methods and convenient technology, food delivery services have a monopoly on the marketplace. But, restaurants are in dire need of better options. 

Restaurants that have launched delivery with third-party apps like UberEats, Foodora, and Postmates are frustrated with the experience. The commission percentages alone — typically between 19-30% of the order value — are enough to make tight margins even tighter. As delivery through third-party apps increases, restaurant profitability decreases. But, the convenience and use of the app’s free technology is enticing since it means that restaurants can offer their customers the food they love quickly. 

Now that we are two months into the COVID crisis, however, the landscape is changing. Restaurants are looking for — and deserve — better options.

The issue with apps

As we, as a society, experience social distancing and lockdown orders, delivery services are overwhelmed with increased demand. Staying home and ordering in, for many, has become the new night out. Responding to this increase in demand, restaurants are launching delivery options. Unfortunately, this has resulted in apps that are overloaded with requests from both consumers and suppliers without the manpower to properly handle them.

Scroll down to read the Milltown Bar & Grill case study.

86 calls aren’t making it out of the kitchen

Restaurants are experiencing delays when attempting to update information on third-party apps. Things that drastically affect the customer experience — like sold out (86’d) menu items and changes in hours of operation — are not being communicated. A survey even showed that 42% of customers experience a problem while using third-party delivery apps – and 57% of those customers blame it on the restaurant.

Quality of service is suffering

New delivery drivers are being thrown rapidly into the mix to compensate for the increase in orders; as they learn how systems and new technology works, quality of service may suffer. 

Unhappy woman calling back a courier that ride away on the background,

And keep in mind, the drivers are operating as representatives of the food apps and not the restaurants themselves — meaning commitment to customer service may be lower. Third-party apps are, of course, operating with their own best interests at heart, so food-to-door service may not uphold the same commitment to service as it would directly from the restaurant. Also, it’s typical that drivers will run multiple apps to maximize their profits. Unfortunately, this means food may sit while priority is given elsewhere. 

Butting heads with delivery services

In the current climate, small businesses are attempting to survive to avoid a dystopian future composed entirely of big-box chain restaurants. And, with the exorbitant cost of services on delivery services and a complete lack of control over commission rates and quality of service, tensions are rising. 

Not having access to the data that will help remarketing efforts

Data is worth more than you may think. On each order a customer makes, they log their names, emails, phone numbers and addresses. All of that data can be used to cost-effectively market restaurants and food that users love. And, all of that data stays with the third-party delivery service. So, not only are restaurants paying third-parties a commission, but they’re unwittingly supplying them with a treasure trove of user-data used for remarketing. 

Restaurants can control the customer experience and retain valuable data — while saving money — by setting up their own online ordering platforms.

The solution

If you are a restaurant owner looking for an alternative to food delivery services, consider taking things in-house. Especially as 70% of customers would prefer to pay restaurants directly, and not third-party delivery services.

flipdish example on desktop and mobile

We have officially partnered with FlipDish, an online ordering platform that restaurants can use for their deliveries while maintaining control. We partnered with these folks because not only do they charge a commission fee at a fraction of third-party delivery services but they leave restaurants in charge of the customer experience. They’re doing right by small — and large — businesses in hospitality. This way, your reputation will no longer hinge on third-party apps. Learn more about our partnership in the official press release.

There are a few ways to use Flipdish depending on a restaurant’s situation. They provide the technology to get set up (for free) so you can get started right away either by building a microsite or integrating the technology into your own site. Either way, Flipdish technology can integrate itself with your POS, Google Analytics, and eCommerce tracking. 

You can set everything up yourself if you’re tech-savvy, pay Flipdish to do it, or have our web experts do it for you in our Restaurant Online Ordering System service. Right now, we’re offering this service for free as a limited-time promotion on our Tin Can Shop

When integrating an online ordering system isn’t enough

The competitive advantage we can offer you is integrating your online ordering system with a digital marketing and social media marketing strategy to enable sales while growing revenue overall. To put it simply, we will set you up for takeout and delivery then market those services to potential customers, increasing your sales. 

flipdish on desktop and analytics on mobile

Integration with Facebook Business pages and Google My Business allows you to showcase online ordering functionality to your customers — tell them quickly and easily when you’re out of a product, have a new menu item, or your hours have changed. We also integrate with Google Analytics eCommerce tracking so you can see what channels your online orders are coming from. This lets you know where your customers are finding you and which channels to put money behind when advertising

After we get you set up on Flipdish, we’re more than happy to discuss the next steps in a digital marketing and social media strategy with you. We know this process works because we’ve done it before, most recently with the Milltown Bar & Grill. 

Milltown Bar & Grill: A success story

Like most restaurants, Milltown Bar & Grill was no longer a bustling, lively restaurant since being forced to close their dine-in seating. In an act of survival and having experienced the dark side of third-party delivery services, they came to us to help them build and launch their own takeout and delivery service. 

milltown bar and grill with "order online" sight

With them never having managed their own delivery and takeout experience and us working with their shoestring marketing budget – we were both up for the challenge of turning their fortune around.

The plan

A multi-stage plan was created, prioritizing the need to accept takeout and delivery orders immediately. An eCommerce plan followed by Squirrel POS integration will be phase two.

Updating Milltown’s website took precedence in order to accept takeout and delivery orders seamlessly. We also prioritized letting their customers know of the updated options with a multifaceted marketing campaign. 

Launching their takeout and delivery orders involved installing the Restaurant Ordering System with Flipdish. We boosted Facebook and Instagram posts advertising the new changes and created “Tag and Win” social media contests targeting people who lived within 3 miles (5km) of the restaurant. Supported with a press release published on Daily Hive’s Adopt My Shop program, the initial marketing campaign resulted in upwards of 3,000 comments and engagements, growing their fan base by 15%+.

Adopt my shop Milltown web page

The results

In the first 2 weeks, Milltown saw a surge in takeout orders allowing them to rehire staff and introduce new menu items. The localized PR and advertising earned them a new customer base of people trying the restaurant for the first time. 

The numbers:

  • An average of 100 takeout meals a day.
  • Sold out of the Sunday Night Prime Rib deal each week (over 200 portions in total).
  • A sharp increase in new customers due to localized PR and advertising, including Daily Hive’s Adopt My Shop program.
  • 3,000+ comments and engagements from the “Tag and Win” contest.
  • 15% increase in social media followers.

The next steps, besides continuing to support takeout and delivery options by phasing out phone orders and integrating Squirrel POS, will be to prepare a re-opening marketing plan. 

Third-party apps aren’t the only option

Don’t let third-party delivery services control your bottom line. Let us help you regain control over your restaurant.

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