These days speed and accessibility are everything.
If your restaurant is still only accepting to-go and delivery orders over the phone, then you might have a problem. In this new digital age that we are in, people want things to be simple, easy, and conflict free. The best way to achieve all of those is by implementing an online solution into your restaurant.
An online solution does not have to be hard to implement, expensive, or even that cumbersome. A good company will work with you to solve the problems your business has. You need a company that will cater to you, not the other way around. Therefore, lets go through some of the things to consider when searching for your online solution before we dive into companies to consider.
Finding An Online To-Go Solution
When searching for an online to-go solution, there are a few things that you need to consider. The first is undoubtedly – how much will it cost you?
Your first priority when looking at online solutions should be to figure out their fee structure and how much you will really be losing from your profits by using the service.
For example, some companies will charge you a flat rate between 15% to 30% per transaction to provide online and delivery services for your business. If you do the math, that means you are practically losing $150 to $300 for every $1,000 that app brings in for you in revenue. Take note, that is revenue and not profit.
If your restaurant has a profit margin of only 20% on average, then you could actually be losing money on some orders which is clearly not a good option.
Take care to really understand the fee structure of any to-go or delivery app before signing on. Chances are, they might not even be worth it once you do some simple math.
Keep Your Data
If you do decide to join onto a marketplace or sign on with a online provider, then you need to make sure to keep or at least have access to your data.
When I mention “data”, I am referring to the emails, phone numbers, and anything else that your clients enter to receive the service through the online solution. This data is extremely important to the continual growth of your restaurant, and you need to make sure you not only have access to it, but have a right to it.
There have been instances of restaurants being denied access to their own data because the online provider simply does not want to give it to them and the contract did not specify that they have a right to it. Therefore, read over the contracts closely and make sure you not only have access to the data, but a right to it.
Access And Transparency
Finally, you have to make sure the company you are working with is easily accessible and transparent.
When working with online solutions, there can commonly be bugs, payment issues, and even complete functionality failures. You need to make sure the company you are working with is extremely proactive in this case, and will work with you through the problems. If they are unavailable during peak business hours, you could potentially miss out on a ton of orders, or even worse not receive them through your end of the app, and get a bunch of unhappy customers looking for their food without your knowledge.
In addition, the company needs to be very open about their policies, fees, and requirements. If after you sign up, they are continually requesting new pieces of information, additional contracts signed, or charging hidden fees, then you need to remove them from your business.
There are a ton of ways these companies can scam you out of money, especially if they are handling the payments on their end for your restaurant. Make sure you keep a close eye on what they say they will do, and what actually happens over time. Protect your business at all costs.
Online Solution Vs Marketplace Vs Delivery Service
With those things to watch out for out of the way, lets take some time to discuss the differences in some of the solutions.
Specifically, I want to discuss:
- Online ordering solutions
- Marketplace solutions
- Delivery services
To kick off the comparisons, lets start with the best online solution right now that we have found.
Best Online Solution
An online solution should be just that – it should be a website that enables your customers to order food from you online or through an app.
That sound pretty simple right? Well, it can be quite complicated when you consider all of the different POS systems small businesses use, the payment processors that they implement, and all the menu customization people need at times.
The best company right now on the market for this solution that we have found is called ChowNow.
ChowNow is a great company that works directly with your to build out your own personal website and app just for your business. Best of all, they charge a very reasonable rate of around $150 per month for these extremely professional and functional tools. Regularly, paying a company to build you a website and app could cost thousands of dollars, but this company simply lets you pay a monthly rate to get it for fractions of the price.
Not to mention that are very accessible, and work closely with some of the largest food vendors on the market like US Foods. They are very knowledgeable in the food industry, and are probably your best bet for getting a professional solution at an affordable cost.
Best Delivery Solution
One thing that ChowNow does not directly do is delivery.
There are a lot of problems when you start to look at becoming a delivery company like insurance, drivers, and consistent volume of orders. It is extremely hard to run a delivery company, so most of the solutions for this will be by working with larger more established brands.
The one that most restaurants find the best success with is DoorDash. You not doubt have heard of them, and they are still the premier solution for the delivery market. Even better, they partner with other companies in order to provide them with delivery solutions. One in particular I can think of is the one I just mentioned, ChowNow.
Yep, even ChowNow utilizes them for a delivery solution. This is probably the most difficult thing to get in terms of solutions on the market place, and will clearly come at the highest cost for either yourself or your users.
Best Marketplace Solution
The last solution to consider is a marketplace.
The advantage that joining a marketplace has over the other two solutions is that it offers your restaurant exposure to new users that you would not normally have. In addition, the marketplace will offer the same online ordering solution through its platform. The only issue with that is – your customers will also be exposed to other restaurants around you.
In theory, you should benefit much more from joining a marketplace over time since more people will find your location and be inclined to try out your food!
The best marketplace we have found so far is the one we are building, Appymeal! The Appymeal marketplace is an incentivized marketplace only for local and independently owned restaurants! That means that users are incentivized to order from the app by a 5% discount, and franchises are not allowed on the app to reduce the competition bringing more exposure to your local business!
We have tried to build the marketplace to benefit the local businesses as much as possible. We know how difficult it is to get exposure on some of the other popular marketplace apps, so we wanted to fix that. In addition, Appymeal on average charges less than 10% per transaction which is way lower than the traditional 15%-30% other platforms charge. That is even including the discount that users receive for ordering from the Appymeal app.
Happier users, cheaper fees, and less competition sounds like a winner in our book for local restaurants everywhere.
We hope this post on online solutions for restaurants helps you on your journey to increase your revenue and exposure. Make sure to follow the tips we mentioned before signing on with any platform, and always make sure you are getting the best deal. Thanks for reading and if you’re ready to join the Appymeal marketplace to start getting found by more people in your area then sign up here!