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Finding the right food delivery service for your restaurant or takeaway

food delivery options

The amount us Brits spend on food delivery has risen 73% in the last 10 years, up to £4.2 billion a year. Whilst the casual dining sector has taken a hit, with many mid-chain restaurants such as Jamie’s and Strada forced to close stores, delivery firms have thrived.

The market leaders, such as Just Eat and Deliveroo, all claim to be of benefit to smaller restaurants and takeaways. But just how true is this?

The Eat Marketing team explore the options available within the online delivery industry to ensure you’re getting the best deal from a provider.

Delivery Dons

With over 673 million food deliveries made in the year ending February 2018, it’s no wonder major food delivery providers have become more popular. It equates to roughly every person in England ordering 10 takeaways a year.
Deliveroo, Just Eat and UberEats are regarded as having the biggest market share in the industry. Offering restaurants and takeaways the opportunity to have their food delivered in return for a percentage commission on an order, they are often the first point of call when considering a delivery firm. With well-known apps and an online presence already established, customers can easily order their food in a relatively seamless journey.

As an independent restaurant or takeaway, one of the benefits of using these larger delivery businesses is their sheer scale and reach. If you’ve previously only attracted local custom, a delivery partner could allow you to reach a whole new customer base from further afield without any extra marketing effort.

For small businesses, who may not be able to afford a city centre location, partnering with one of these delivery dons can also help boost revenue for slow midweek afternoons.

However Deliveroo, UberEats and Just Eat all charge restaurants and takeaways a commission for each order, although they’re fairly hush hush about how much this is. It’s rumoured to be around 35% – a hefty amount when it comes to smaller businesses.

Monthly food delivery app subscription providers

This leads us on to another popular provider – monthly subscription firms. There are a few restaurant delivery app providers, such as Smart Restaurants, that charge restaurants or takeaways a monthly fee for a food ordering app.

With two packages available (choose from ‘Smart Basic’ or ‘Smart Edition’) both offer a range of pre-made themes and templates to choose from, and allow you to add your logo in to the design to help personalise it. Smart Restaurants charge £59 a month for both packages.

Monthly subscription platforms are good in that they don’t charge commission on each order, just a monthly retainer. However you’re still limited in the overall look and feel of the service, with no say on how the app is designed.

Bespoke delivery

Alternatively, approaching an agency to create a dedicated app or delivery platform can be worthwhile for a business.

Some smaller takeaways and restaurants may be put off by the steep upfront cost along with the unproven record of the new app. There’s a chance it might not be popular with customers. However most will see the financial return over several years.

This bespoke approach allows restaurants and takeaways to have complete freedom and control over their service. You’re not giving away part of your profit, or tied into a contract with companies who control a customer-facing app.

One thing to consider is that by creating a delivery option, your business may lose out on impulse purchases such as drinks, puddings and sides often upsold inside a restaurant or takeaway. Customers typically spend half as much online as they would when visiting a physical store.

Food delivery apps that are right for your business

With statistics from the NPD Group showing 46% of all delivery orders are still taken over the phone (online: 38% and through an app: 16%), there is quite a way to go within the industry. However app orders have increased threefold within the last 2 years – so watch this space!

When deciding whether to partner with a delivery service or platform, it’s important to also consider logistics. It’s worth looking at installing systems that link app orders to EPOS tills, to offer a seamless experience for your front-of-house staff and to help stop confusion.

Also, is your menu suitable for transportation or could dishes be ruined when put on the back of a bike? You don’t want to be blamed for damaged dishes through dodgy delivery drivers.

Considering all your options

Don’t forget to bear in mind your marketing budget. As previously mentioned, larger delivery companies such as Deliveroo or JustEat can offer marketing support and promotion of your restaurant or takeaway within their app as part of their service. Whereas with a bespoke service, you will only receive the app. It’s worth weighing up the pros and cons of carrying out your own marketing strategy against allowing a larger delivery service to do for you.

Customer expectations are always rising, from the presentation and packaging design to the food quality, speed of delivery and of course, price.

To help keep up with demand in a manageable way, consider developing a delivery-only menu. This could include items that are easy to cook in busy periods, plus fare well when transported. Treat it as a teaser to your in-store menu, so people are left wanting to try more and visit your physical premises.

If you’re looking for advice or help in creating your own delivery service or app for your restaurant or takeaway, contact us at Eat Marketing. We’re always happy to chat!

Project in mind? Questions to ask?
Talk to Maria on +44 (0)845 835 4661.

Eat Marketing