The hospitality industry has had to change, and fast. Due to shifts in consumer habits, working from home and self isolation, restaurants and takeaways are adapting their service to meet customer demands.
Worth over £8.5bn, the foodservice delivery market is booming, however many restaurants and takeaways are unsure which delivery services will work best.
To help your food business prepare for online ordering, we’ve broken down exactly what you’ll need to consider and put into action to get up and running. The quicker this shift is made and online ordering set up, the easier it will be to support both your customers and staff.
Make it simple to use
Heard of the phrase ‘Hangry’? Customers aren’t very patient when they’re hungry, so your online ordering system will need to be seamless and stress free for users. You’ll want to make it as easy as possible for customers to browse and choose items from your menu, with strong call- to-actions encouraging a purchase.
Use customer data to your advantage
Through setting up online ordering, you’ll have the added benefit of collecting customer data – something that’s unavailable through larger third-party companies.
This means you’ll have continuous access to all of your online sales data, helping you plan, prepare and promote the most popular dishes.
Plus, if you’re able to get customer consent for marketing at the point of purchase, you’ll also be able to keep in touch through creative content marketing helping to turn users into loyal customers.
Consider reducing your online menu
Using your online sales data, you’ll be able to monitor the frequency of particular menu items. To help keep orders flowing at a manageable pace and to allow you to control your stock levels, you could consider slimming down your online delivery menu to just your most popular dishes.
Keep your brand consistent
You’ll want your online ordering system, website or app to be inline with your brand and tone of voice so as to not confuse customers. Keep the whole experience consistent for them – from landing on your website all the way through to receiving their order confirmation.
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.
Just Eat has the biggest market share in the industry (estimated at 40% of the online food delivery segment) and is closely followed by UberEats and Deliveroo. 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 providers, such as Hungrrr and Preoday that charge restaurants or takeaways a monthly fee for a food ordering app and online ordering landing page.
These monthly subscription platforms are good in that they don’t charge commission on each order, just a monthly retainer. You’re more in control of how customers experience your business, with the ability to manage your profile and you’ll also own the customer data you collect. However unlike the larger delivery firms, you’ll need to market your online ordering service yourself.
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!