Delivering Customers on Demand
Online menu ordering via on-demand delivery apps may not be for every foodservice operation, but it is essential to understand how the growing trend is helping some restaurants drive uber good results from online proficiency, without disrupting quality, staffing or back-of-kitchen operations.
42% of consumers will choose one restaurant over another based on the ability to order online
If you are on the virtual fence about whether to make room for the option, consider these startling facts from the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) research: 42 percent of consumers will choose one restaurant over another based on the ability to order online (2017). And, a few years earlier, the NRA predicted that by 2020, 70 percent of restaurant industry traffic will take place outside the brick-and-mortar operation. Last spring, the Los Angeles Times Technology column called food delivery apps a restaurant game changer for not only increasing sales by significant margins, but also for bringing in new customers they might not have captured through traditional means.
by 2020 70% of restaurant industry traffic will take place outside the brick-and-mortar operation
Considering the Millennials have grown up with technology and they value lifestyle conveniences, their consumer patterns will continue to disrupt the marketplace for years to come - the youngest Millennials are still in high school. Millennials turn to their handheld devices to meet all their needs: from hailing a ride to ordering a breakfast burrito, technology is how they get things done.
Build an app and they will order? Yep, or Yelp, pretty much. But, if you’re not in the app-building business or the delivery business, how do you make it happen? Fortunately, there is a well-developed marketplace of choices, all poised and ready to deliver with remarkably positive results. Depending on your market, you might be getting knocks on your door from agents peddling services for UberEats, GrubHub/Seamless, DoorDash, Postmates, Caviar, Amazon Prime and Yelp’s new Eat24Hours. If you are in the market to outsource delivery, you will find your options very seamless, easy to manage and full of customer service and marketing support. Most will take a commission from the restaurant, and charge consumers a delivery fee.
per-item tally can be tripled by local office group and dealership staff orders
Sales growth is not the only compelling factor to consider before clicking into the app-fueled consumer market. Frank Georgacopoulos is the managing director of Southern Belle’s Pancake House, operating three locations in the suburbs of Chicago and serving almost 10,000 patrons every month. All three locations have been partnering with at least one delivery provider for less than one year. While he might receive an average of 15 total delivery orders every day for breakfast or lunch at each location, the per-item tally can be tripled by local office group and dealership staff orders.
“We see this as a complement to our business,” says Georgacopoulos. “Our loyal, weekend customer base is sparking the work-week orders so they can get their favorite breakfast or lunch ‘fix’ on demand at their office. Everyone’s busy and with one hour for lunch and with traffic the way it is, it’s worth the delivery fee to have the convenience of having their favorite breakfast or lunch with time to spare. For me the best part is that they are including their office friends and sharing Southern Belle’s with new customers. UberEats and GrubHub is like free advertising, it’s spreading the word-of-mouth marketing.”
For Southern Belle, the usual fear of operational or quality disruptions have not been a factor. As for managing the incoming orders, UberEats and GrubHub each provide the restaurant with tablets that alert staff to incoming orders, allowing Southern Belle to “accept” and place the order for delivery.
“We really take pride in our customer’s experience and work hard to ensure the delivery customer has the same taste experience that our restaurant patron has,” Frank explains. “We do this by treating our delivery partner as we would a customer. We respect the driver and invite him into the front door, not the back door. We have an opportunity to educate the driver on handling, and ensure our entrée is well presented every time.”