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What’s on the menu: Everything you need to know about restaurant delivery services

Mobile technology has made many aspects of life more convenient, including ordering food. For restaurant owners, this is a boon. Even if you don’t have the resources to offer delivery on your own, you can now enlist the help of third-party services to get your food into the hands (and mouths) of hungry locals.

Here is an overview of the most popular third-party food delivery services, including the options available, the pros and cons, and how to start using these services in your business.

What are the benefits of restaurant delivery services?

Before we look at which services you may want to consider, let’s keep in mind some of the benefits a third-party delivery service can bring to your restaurant:

Demand is on the rise

Home food delivery is expected to grow 79 percent during the next five years, according to the investment firm Cowen. In terms of dollars, the delivery market will grow from $43 billion in 2017 to $76 billion in 2022.

You’ll remain competitive

Offering an online delivery option helps your business compete with other similar restaurants in your area. Further, it may give you a competitive advantage over restaurants that do not deliver.

Strong order accuracy

Since third-party delivery services take orders online, there is less risk you’ll misunderstand an order, as is sometimes the case when taking orders over the phone.

You’ll make more money

Giving customers as many options as possible when it comes to ordering your food will translate to more orders overall.

It will help attract younger customers

More than half of millennials (55 percent) say convenience is among the top drivers when buying food, according to the International Food Information Council. Offering delivery is a great way to attract millennial consumers. Each young customer you get to order your food is another chance at building your long-term customer base.

What are the drawbacks of restaurant delivery services?

Here are two things to be aware of before getting started with a delivery service:

It requires a financial investment

Services vary, but each provider typically charges a percentage of each online order as a delivery fee. Also, you may need to invest in other items related to food delivery, such as appropriate containers. That said, in an ideal situation, the additional revenue you bring in will comfortably outweigh the added expenses.

Your kitchen may slow down

With all of the additional orders coming through, it may put some pressure on your kitchen staff. Again, this may be a bit of a blessing in disguise. If the added revenue makes it worth it, you might be able to add staff to help handle high-demand times of the day.

10 delivery services to consider

Now that we’ve laid out some of the pros and cons of a third-party delivery service, it’s time to look at your options. Here are the 10 most popular food delivery services in the United States:

  1. Grubhub
  2. DoorDash
  3. Postmates
  4. Seamless
  5. Eat24
  6. Uber Eats
  7. Amazon Restaurants
  8. Caviar
  10. BiteSquad

Take some time to do a bit of research on each of these services to decide which might be a fit for your restaurant. Some only deliver in certain cities or markets, and while these services frequently add service areas, you may want to utilize one that’s already popular where you are. Price is another thing to consider, of course.

Adding a delivery service to your website

When it comes to online delivery, it takes more than simply partnering with a third-party service. There are a number of important things you need to do get the word out, and one is to set up a professionally designed website optimized to highlight the fact that you offer online ordering and delivery.

A professional website is a great tool for showcasing your menu, photos of your food and any specials you may run. It’s also essential for the online ordering experience. Yes, some customers may simply use one of the delivery sites to search for your restaurant, but many will come to your website first to see if online ordering is an option.

With this in mind, take steps to help customers browsing your website place online orders. Customers will appreciate the ease of use, which will motivate them to keep coming back for more.

Other ways to promote online delivery

Your website is just one way to publicize your partnership with a delivery service. Others you should consider include:

  1. Social media: Let your followers know they can have your food delivered to their home with regular posts encouraging them to give online ordering a try.
  2. Email marketing: Email marketing is already a great tool for driving customers to your physical location, and it can also be effective at generating online orders.
  3. Print marketing: Print products such as flyers or postcards are tools that restaurants commonly use to promote themselves in their local area. Consider using your print marketing to inform customers which delivery service or services you partner with to help drum up online orders.

These methods should be used in two ways. When you first add online ordering and delivery, use social, email and print marketing to promote your new feature. After you have offered online ordering and delivery for a while, you should continue to promote it for those who may have missed your initial announcement and might be unaware that it’s a possibility.

Is a delivery service right for your business?

If your goal is to generate as many sales as possible, using a third-party delivery service is something you should strongly consider. There are costs involved in getting set up, but the additional revenue you’re likely to bring in should make it well worth it in the long run.

Again, it’s worth reiterating: Simply partnering with a delivery service won’t be enough to automatically boost online sales and revenue. However, a professionally designed website optimized to highlight online ordering and delivery, along with regular promotion via social, email and print marketing will alert customers of your capabilities, adding revenue to your bottom line in the process.

Need help designing a professional website?

See our gallery of work and get web design insights.

The post What’s on the menu: Everything you need to know about restaurant delivery services appeared first on Deluxe Small Business Resource Center.

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