It wasn’t too long ago that having food delivered meant dinner was going to come in a large flat box with little casings of parmesan cheese and chilli flakes. Today you can pretty much get whatever you like, hand-brought to your door.
Takeaway food is growing massively in Australia – NAB’s December 2016 Online Retail Sales Report showed takeaway food grew by 34 per cent from 2015, driven by recent advancement in mobile app ordering capabilities.
The rise of global food delivery services like Uber Eats, Foodora and Deliveroo in Australia showed people want and love getting their meals delivered. In fact, a YouGov study which surveyed 1,000 adults in Australia’s major capital cities found one in two Aussies have ordered food online or through an app, and would do it again.
With even fine dining restaurants like Nobu riding this trend, should you also be jumping aboard the food delivery bandwagon? We think so. Here are 10 reasons why:
Conquer new customers
Getting on board a delivery service will mean more customers, and more revenue. It opens up a whole new base of people previously restricted by location or because they didn’t know about your restaurant. Aussie-born Menulog for example, has over 2.6 million active customers on its platform. Look at it as a smart way of increasing your reach without investing in actual physical expansion.
Get cover during the lulls
Find yourself lazy to leave the house when it’s raining outside or after you’ve had a tiring day at work? Your customers think so too. Uber Eats’ top restaurants make over $6,400 a month (or over $75,000 a year) from the food delivery platform alone – that’s revenue you can fall back on when there’s less foot traffic, such as during bad weather or typically slow periods like Sunday or Wednesday nights.
Reduce order errors and empower your staff to do more
While phone orders are still important for many food businesses, taking complex instructions with a pen and paper means a higher chance of making mistakes, plus it’s time your staff could spend doing other things. In an article on Business Insider Australia, Dunkin’ Donuts CEO Nigel Travis says order accuracy is one of the biggest challenges facing everyone in food service. Order-taking employees also account for about 30 per cent of the donut giant’s in-store workers.
Letting customers place an order through an app puts the responsibility of getting the order right (literally) in their hands, and lets you get more done with less staff on shift. You take care of the prep, get it out the door, and that’s it.
Give your customers a taste of what’s to come
Entice customers to come to your premises by putting a teaser of your offerings on special delivery-only menus, which you can populate with seasonal or premium ingredients to entice customers to pay more.
Hatted restaurants like Sake, Three Blue Ducks and Esquire are among the 39 per cent of Australian fine-dining establishments who have launched on Uber Eats with scaled-down, delivery-only menus.
Give regulars more reasons to love you
Aussie millennials now spend at least $100 a week eating at restaurants or getting food delivered. You already know your regulars don’t mind making the journey to your premises, but add the convenience of clicking or tapping to get the food they like delivered to their doors, and they’ll love you more.
Reach the food delivery market’s biggest clientele – the Millennials
Online takeaway sales increased more than 50 per cent in 2016, largely thanks to Millennials, also known as “the generation that is eating out more than any other, and the least likely to cook.” Really, if you’re in the business of food, there’s no time like the present to get in there and get a share of the Millennial pie.
Run referral programs and promotional deals
If you have the Menulog app on your phone, open it and have a look at what delivery options are in your area. Chances are, you’ll see restaurants that offer a first order discount or other promotions. A US-based study by Oracle showed that more than half of Millennials not only want to order food via their phones, they’re also keen on loyalty programs they can manage easily on their mobile devices.
Reap the perks of partnering with a food delivery service
Food delivery services like Foodora earn a cut of every order, so it’s in their interest to promote their restaurant partners and maintain strong relationships with business owners. Partnering with one means you’ll be able to benefit from gaining access to things like expert advice on tailoring your home-delivery menus, and demographic data to improve your marketing or grow your delivery reach.
Remove the logistical headaches of managing your own deliveries
You could invest thousands of dollars setting up your own delivery service a la Domino’s, or you could let someone else deal with the hassle of hiring and training skilled drivers or riders, renting vehicles, and most of all, the insurance. Partnering with a third party food delivery service takes all these costs off your mind, and off your balance sheet.
Build a solid reputation and drive additional traffic to your doors
It’s no secret that the best restaurants on food delivery apps are the ones that have the highest ratings and the best reviews. Provide a great experience for your customers via the app, and you can look forward to repeat business, plus entice far-reaching customers to check out your venue in person.
Of course, there are some things to consider
While there are plenty of perks in partnering with a food delivery service, there are some things you’ll need to manage in-house if you want to do so. It can be trickier than you think so consider these before signing up.
Beware interrupting your back of house operations
Nobody needs to deal with delayed orders, mistaken customer requests, and annoyed cooks. You’ll need to ensure your kitchen workflow is able to accommodate delivery orders on top of everything else during a busy shift. If you think delivery seems like too big a step for your business to take right now, you can always try partnering with an online ordering system like Hey You first, which lets your customers place orders via an app and collect them in person later on.
READ NOW: Why Your Kitchen Workflow Matters
Have a backup plan for when things go wrong
There’s always the occasional dissatisfied customer who might complain because the food was cold, soup spilled or didn’t taste like ‘how I remembered it last time’. Don’t risk getting negative online reviews; you’ll need to be prepared to react to these scenarios, perhaps through a special offer, a discount or a personal apology if required.
High commissions charged by delivery services
You already know how hard it is to make money when running a restaurant. Food delivery services like Uber Eats and Deliveroo charge up to 35 per cent commission per meal delivered, which can eat (pun intended) into your profits.
So, it looks like food delivery services are here to stay, in the near future anyway. Today’s customers want delicious food delivered to their doors and are willing to pay a premium for it in many cases. Sure, there are factors like extra costs, commissions and food quality control which can affect your reputation and profits, but get on board and you can access a previously untapped pool of customers and take your business to the next level.
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