Online Ordering & Delivery Strategy during COVID-19

​​Did you ever imagine placing a take-out food order a week in advance prior to actually picking it up? COVID-19 caught everybody by surprise, especially the restaurant industry. As restaurants turn to online ordering and delivery companies for support, they are finding not all of these companies are interested in a win-win relationship. Since Coronavirus began delivery service firms’ revenues have risen over 140% as they collect over 40% of the order revenue from restaurants, while spending at restaurants has decreased by 35%. Here are three questions to consider while developing your online ordering and delivery strategy:

1. What does my restaurant need to attract customers?

While many consumers have adopted the behavior of going straight to a delivery service site to pick their meal, this has not always been the case. Many restaurants have been successful during coronavirus utilizing their website and social media sites to drive customers to order online. Investing now in online ordering software and marketing to grow their customer base will pay dividends to restaurants, instead of relying on a high priced delivery service.

2. Does my restaurant need to use a delivery service?

Local restaurants typically have loyal fan bases that utilize delivery because it is available but would also rather drive or walk to the restaurant as opposed to ordering delivery from a different restaurant. Restaurants could be giving up more than 40% of their revenue unnecessarily, while their customers are affected by the expensive fees related with online ordering and delivery. If restaurants believe they need to offer delivery to succeed, they should consider partnering with restaurants in their local area that are already offering delivery.

3. How stable and reliable is the online ordering/delivery partner?

Tech start-ups have flooded the online ordering and delivery service space leading to an environment full of mergers and acquisitions. For example, just yesterday Grubhub announced its’ acquisition by Just Eat Takeaway. As there is more consolidation in the delivery service space, both consumers and restaurants will likely pay higher fees due to less competition. Most start-ups are only concerned about growth to justify more investment, raising the valuation of their company, and typically exiting the business in a few years with a large payday.

It is essential for restaurants to make sure they are investing in the right programs now more than ever. Investing in programs now that will allow restaurants to cultivate a loyal customer base and reward that customer base for repeat business will lead restaurants to be successful independent of delivery services during this difficult time. Online ordering software programs such as Talech and Toast are currently waiving software fees for new users. If you’re not a marketing or social media expert, consider contracting one of the many talented people who are looking for work.

It’s the effort you put into your menu and marketing to your local community that leads to success, not partnering with a technology company that is only worried about their own growth and success.