Food Ordering & Delivery
Food Ordering online has historically been available for fast casual and casual dining.
Food Ordering online is a feature for restaurants that has historically been available for fast casual and casual dining. Historically, this has been managed manually, with a call-in order scheduled for “pick up” at a particular time. However, the need to manage higher volumes, and schedule future pick-up and deliveries in the era of COVID-19 has expanded the use of ordering to more venues.
Restaurants also can use food ordering as a way to promote their businesses to new customers. For example, offering discounts at off-peak hours, providing menus online, and notifying customers when specials are available via marketing, can all be ways to add value.
Restaurants already have existing restaurant management, POS (Point of Sale) systems, and integrated solution for front-of-house, table management, CRM, marketing, and many other functions. Food ordering with future scheduling may already be included in these “all in one” systems.
COVID-19 Coronavirus Impact
COVID-19 has had a major impact on all restaurants. Due to closures and restrictions of sit-down dining, many restaurants have added or expanded take-out, pick-up, takeaway, and delivery. Many of the booking systems have integrated this feature in addition to reservation functionality.
Food Delivery Capabilities
Integrated food delivery systems are typically used by the following types of restaurants:
- Delivery Only – Offer delivery as the primary (or only method) or ordering, e.g., Pizza delivery, or Virtual (“Cloud”) Kitchens
- Fast Casual – Offer upscale and diverse food, limited menu selection with slightly higher price points than fast food
- Casual Dining - Ranging from independents to franchises, provide table service and a sit-down meal
Providing the option to a customer to order for pick-up or delivery is now a customer expectation for most restaurants, even if not required. Many systems support booking-related features, including menu visibility, integration into CRM, VIP recognition (knowing your customer), and marketing follow-up.
The types of systems that restaurants can choose from are widely varying. High end systems provide “all in one” capabilities, where food ordering is one component of a larger system. Other solutions focus on a single element of booking, for example, providing discounted offers, or visibility via a “marketplace” app or website to a region or city, but not providing any other back-end solutions.
A challenge with all-in-one systems is that they may have a limited ability to offer ordering outside of their own network. For example, OpenTable, Yelp, and even Facebook offer bookings, but don’t make it easy to offer reservation visibility on other distribution channels. In this case, the restaurant may need to manually enter orders from one system to another. The trend of “cooperative competition” to allow restauranteurs to choose a core system, then pick from different marketplaces and ad networks is still evolving.
Delivery platform leaders such as DoorDash, Postmates, Uber Eats and Grubhub have changed the food delivery ecosystem. Although they provide significant value, the commission structure adds from 20% to 30% cost to the restaurant, plus additional delivery fees of $5 to $10 per delivery.
Third-party booking systems can integrate directly to delivery platforms via APIs. By doing this, they can reduce the cost to the restaurant, since the “orders” are not actually coming from the platform’s marketplace. In addition, the last-mile delivery charge of $5 to $10 can be charged directly to the consumer, keeping the restaurant’s cost lower.
DoorDash and others provide value with their marketplace app, which aggregate restaurant offers in a way similar to OpenTable. Restaurants must decide which of the delivery platform apps is the “best fit” for their restaurant type and customer base, and if the incremental business and new customers are worth the extra cost.
In addition to offering bookings via your own website or mobile app, many restaurants offer reservations and/or delivery on Reserve with Google, Facebook, or Yelp. In addition OpenTable there are also a multitude of region-specific “find a local restaurant” apps provide additional visibility.
Reserve with Google
The Restaurant vertical has the largest number of partners in the Reserve with Google program (nearly 40% of all current vendors), with nearly global coverage the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The solution also provides options for pick-up and delivery in addition to sit-down reservations. Ordering from the menu and payment is also supported for some regions.
Click here for Vendors that support Restaurants:
Facebook provides several ways to provide appointments, including their own built-in system, integration with specific vendors, and the ability to add any booking button to your Business Profile. For more information on these options see Facebook Appointments.
Yelp for Restaurants
Yelp has significant strength in the restaurant industry though their “reviews” system. Yelp is the “go to” search engine for many consumers. Building on this, Yelp for Restaurants provides a complete front-of-house, reservation, and waitlist system. Yelp currently does not integrate with any third-party solutions or marketplaces, so choosing their system may lock you in.