You have a business in the food industry and are looking to increase your services by offering takeout and/or delivery. You have some concerns in mind – integration time and effort, effects on current operations, costs structures, and customer interaction.
Let us help explain:
What are the benefits?
According to the National Restaurant Association, 43% of adults in North America have ordered food online. By providing customers with the ability to order from anywhere, anytime, it tells them that you understand they are looking for a flexible options, something that fits with their lifestyle. With this additional feature available, orders increase, customer loyalty is built, and operational efficiency increases. With a good marketing strategy in place, restaurants can see a significant increase in the number of orders as well as their total amount spent per order.
A fully integrated solution is designed to be easy to set up and with minimal impact in operations. A good overall platform should increase efficiency without increasing major resources needed to operate the service. It should be easy to understand and easily adaptable with the staff.
Mobile app or online ordering?
With many options available at consumer’s fingertips, it is easy to navigate from one app/website to another. So should your business go with the application option, website, or both? Your choice will depend on the demographic being targeted, geographic location, resources and many others. Some practical questions to ask after determining your target audience:
- Where are the company’s customers concentrated? (Geographical location)
- What is their brand recognition within your targeted area/demographic?
- What’s the cost difference of having both the app and the website?
- Do the orders coming from the app/website go into the POS system? Or do they provide tablets?
- Does the company host the website or integrates with your own website?
- How is the design of the ordering page? Do they make it look appealing?
- How easy is it for customers to navigate the page?
- Is the purchase done through your website or in a third party page?
Your choice will be dependent on your end goals.
How does an app integrate with my system? Some apps will integrate with the POS and payment systems. Meaning that every order goes straight to your POS as if one of your own staff had punched it in. It prints seamlessly and the order is sent to kitchen to be made. Other companies will provide a tablet where the orders will come in. Your staff needs to pay attention to these devices to make sure orders are not missed.
Ask if the company being considered integrates with the POS and payment system you use. A smooth integration is key step to deploying a well functioning system.
Questions to ask:
- What’s the integration process, are there any extra softwares or hardware that need to be bought?
- How long does it take to do a full implementation?
- Where will the order payments go? Will they go into my account? Or does it sit in your (software provider) account?
- Will the restaurant receive a notification when the order is placed?
- What if the price of an item changes? Is the update seamless?
- What is the process of updating a menu? Is everything integrated with your system?
Each company operates differently, and it’s best to know which one works best for you.
- Who are your clients? Do you work with clients that have over (x) amount of stores?
If your restaurant is looking for a company that can handle an implementation of numerous store, ask the scale at which they have deployed. This will set the tone to the complexity at which the company can integrate and if they are a good fit for what your company is looking for.
Typically, some of the costs involved include: installation and activation, menu set-up, and a charge per order. The initial installation cost can vary depending on the complexity of the process. However, the biggest difference can come from the amount they charge for each order. For example, some companies will charge a percentage for each order – ranging from 15%-25%, others will charge a set price per transaction, despite the size of the order. Choose what structure best fits your business. Be careful with the charge per order as it may push increase in prices and thus pass the cost to the consumer – who notice the change and may not always be welcoming to the extra charge.
Questions to ask:
- What are the monthly fees?
- What is the cost per transaction?
- Are there updates to the software that need to be purchased on a regular basis?
Knowledge of the Industry
Customer service and industry knowledge are a great addition to providing a successful platform. Does this prospect company understand what you’re looking for? The struggles restaurateurs face? Are they tuned in to the industry? Having an understanding and interest of the operators in mind, will make a significant difference in the solutions presented. The options need to make sense and be tailored to your needs. The company’s interest in your business and support available to tap in, is a component that should be taken in consideration before creating the partnership.
Takeout and Delivery
Why offer takeout? Takeout will help increase order numbers without needing to accommodate extra in-house customers. It’s a cost-benefit solution worth integrating. Some differences between platforms include:
- Does the consumer pre-pay for their order?
- Does the money go straight into your account?
- Is the “scan and pay” option available? (Pay with your phone at the counter instead of your credit card). If providing an alternative pay option to your clients is important.
- How is the “lead time” setup? Is it tailored to the restaurant’s needs?
Delivery on the other hand, will allow the restaurant to reach a wider audience and provide a high value service to customers. Food delivery companies vary in how they provide a delivery solution. Here are the main differences:
- Does the company offer both the app and the drivers? Some companies offer only the software solution and a separate courier company is needed. Others provide the full service.
- If drivers are provided, how does the tip structure work?
- If the company does not have drivers, do they help the restaurant get connected with courier companies? What’s the additional cost? How do the orders get sent to the courier? Who manages this relationship?
Will they advertise our restaurant?
If customers don’t know about the new product, revenues won’t increase and implementation will be a sunk cost.
Food delivery companies vary in the marketing package they offer. Some offer some assistance in advertising, while others don’t. Here are some points to think about:
If there is a marketing fee attached to the package:
- Do they advertise your restaurant, or do they advertise their own platform without much mention of your restaurant?
- What are the fees associated with advertising? Is this a monthly fee or a one time fee?
- Does their marketing align with your brand?
- Does it reach your desired customer base?
Analyzing the marketing strategy will help decide if the package cost is worth it or not.
- Depending on the audience size, the restaurant could be exposed to a large market and benefit from the additional audience.
- It is one less task for your restaurant to worry about.
- The marketing execution may not align with expectations (eg: Your business may not get advertised as much as frequent as it was proposed, or branding does not match brand’s standards).
- The costs could be too high.
- The customer database would not be shared, and therefore limit business to the information that is provided about the clientele.
Marketing not included:
- The customers are yours. Provide you with the freedom to market to your clientele directly, and collect all the data.
- Costs may not be defined by a fixed percentage/fee each month.
- Branding is consistent and controlled internally.
- If a marketing strategy in already place, it’s not an additional task.
- Customer base will depend on how much effort is placed on marketing.
- It will require time and resources.
Lastly, another area which should be taken in consideration, is where the customer’s data is being stored. If the company provides B2C marketing, does it also keep your consumer’s data or does it share it with you and/or with others?
In order to know your clientele and tailor your offers to them, it is important to have the data that matters. Keep in mind to ask how the company deals with customer data.
Overall, there are multiple options available in the market, and many are good. Goals need to be set to understand which features are the most important to meet your business needs and how well your goals will be achieved with each company.
All the best as you search for the best solution!
– The Tacit Innovations Team
Need help figuring out what’s the best solution for you? Talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (866) 962-3426 we would be happy to help.