Restaurant Delivery Service: Should You Outsource to a Third-Party?

These days, it seems like new third-party restaurant delivery service apps are popping up each week, and it can be overwhelming for consumers to keep up. But what does the existence of these services mean for the chefs and restaurant owners who have to decide whether to use them? Is it worth the investment to outsource your delivery service in an effort to drum up new business? Keep reading to find out.

Things to Consider

The first question you should ask yourself is whether a delivery service option is a good fit for your restaurant. For instance, if you're operating a five-star, fine-dining establishment with a waiting list of any length, chances are that your customers probably prefer dining in. And if you don't think the food you cook would hold up well during delivery, you may not want to risk negatively impacting your restaurant's reputation.

On the other hand, if you're in a location where you have a lot of similar restaurants and you're losing business because competitors offer a delivery service, then you should consider jumping on the bandwagon. Start by learning the differences between third-party delivery service providers and then consider the advantages of using one over an in-house delivery staff.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing

For small restaurants in big cities, outsourcing your delivery service to a third-party company can boost sales by helping you reach new audiences via targeted digital marketing campaigns. It can also minimize losing customers due to long wait-times, busy signals when delivery calls are being placed, and language barriers between staff and patrons.

On top of these benefits, third-party delivery companies can help you promote your restaurant by offering deals, and they make it easy for customers to place repeat orders by saving their payment information and logging their previous order history.

What scares many restaurants away from working with third-party delivery services are the fees, which are a certain percentage of sales. Some restaurants see an increase in sales, but don't see that same positive in their bottom line due to third-party commissions. This happened to Jim Graziano, who runs a sub shop in Chicago. "We're selling all these extra sandwiches, and I'm thinking, 'Oh my God—this is great,'" says Graziano. "But at the end of the month, I'm looking at my numbers and I'm thinking, 'Where's all of our money?' It was counterproductive."

Another negative about restaurant delivery service apps is that the reviews can make or break your success. If customers are unhappy with the quality of their order, you can expect that, in this day of social media, they're going to voice their unhappiness. If enough customers leave poor reviews for your restaurant, rest assured that your business will suffer beyond receiving fewer delivery orders.

Being Assertive

It's important to make sure any delivery person from a third-party service understands that he or she is representing your restaurant and must have the utmost respect for your customers. With that said, if you ever suspect that an employee of a third-party could misrepresent your restaurant while on duty, make sure to speak up. Tell the company that you'd like a different driver and let them know that the appearance or attitude of their employee is not fit to represent your restaurant.

The same goes for the tone or voice of a company's emails, blog articles, and marketing materials. You don't want to associate your business with a company that has an image that's inconsistent with your restaurant's identity.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, whether you should outsource your restaurant delivery service depends on if it will be profitable. Crunch the numbers to truly understand if each and every delivery order could add to your restaurant's bottom line. If so, then pursue delivery as a top priority, hire the right third-party company, and learn how to create the ultimate experience for your customers.

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