From reducing the costs to optimizing processes and making marketing easier, there are multiple reasons for the restaurant to build their own digital channels. In all of this Ordering Stack helps you. Check all features of Ordering Stack, our online ordering system with order process management (by the Kitchen Display System), with self-service ordering kiosks and POS integration.
While the habit of ordering the food either online or via phone was seen earlier, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the changes heavily. In these days of strife, it was most common for non-digital restaurants to join the integrator platforms like Uber Eats, Bolt Food, Take Away, or Deliveroo.
Being a reasonable tactic in the short term, using the integrators’ services should be supported by building the owned digital channels. Here is why:
Online ordering in the Covid world
The online ordering market has evolved from the offline-driven traditional model to the digital-powered hybrid seen today. No more than 20 years ago the food order was limited to pizza and oriental food.
According to the McKinsey data, the food delivery market has reached $150 billion in 2021, effectively more than tripling since 2017. The market has in fact doubled during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
As with every strong and unexpected change, the businesses had to adapt quickly to survive. This fact delivered a boost for online ordering platforms and integrators. According to Reuter’s analysis, consumer habits are unlikely to get back to the pre-pandemic state and the popularity of food delivery is here to stay for a long time.
But it doesn’t mean that the current state of balance is going to be permanent.
Why you should build your own ordering channels
Reuters agency points out in the report mentioned above, that the market of the delivery apps is going to consolidate, with the strongest players swallowing an increasing share. With the market players’ number shrinking, the commissions of the consolidation apps are going to increase, making this channel even more expensive.
But this is not the only reason why the restaurant needs to build its own ordering and distribution channels. The online ones, in particular
Drive more revenue
The online channel provides the owner with much more ways to convince and convert the customer. Also, having the buyer in the owned ecosystem cuts the opportunity for the user to be convinced by the competition on the last mile.
When having their own digital channel, be that a mobile app or the web app, the company can use many techniques that are impossible to get when using the marketplace and integrators services. Cross-selling, up-selling and time-limited offers are just the top-of-mind examples.
According to the Incisiv research, digital sales will make up 54% of all restaurant sales by 2025. That’s 70% higher than the pre-COVID estimates. This means that every dollar leaking in the digital channel will be multiplied by the fact that this channel will make up the majority of income.
The owned channel is commission-free, with all the revenue taken by the owner. Thus, shifting from the external channels to the owned ones supports profitability in a reasonable way.
Captures customer data
The modern business needs data at the same rate the XIX century industry needed coal. When properly designed and implemented, the owned digital channel can gather not only customer orders but also customer data.
The data hold the answers to multiple questions the business owner frequently asks him or herself:
- Which promotion is the most successful one?
- Are there any patterns to find in the customer behavior?
- How to use these patterns for our own benefit?
- What makes the customer go away instead of buying
- Why is that one particular meal more popular than others?
Data gathering and analysis are the keys to getting answers for all these questions – and many more. Yet the access to the data is much harder when a large part of the purchasing process is done in the external environment.
Consumers expect it and are disappointed to not find it
Following Reuter’s analysis, online ordering is unlikely to go away, with the pandemic being a huge game changer and the great training of the new habits among the users. Considering that, it is increasingly common to expect the restaurant to have the online ordering channel available in any form.
By March 2021 nearly a half of Americans (47%) ordered food using an app. If one in two Americans are using some tool, it is not a competitive advantage anymore, but a necessity.
Optimizes time and labor
Owned channels are highly customizable and possible to automate in a much easier way. This means that the owner can incorporate the digital channel into the offline kitchen workflows seamlessly.
It is the most common practice to use the integrator-delivered tablet as a connecting device. If the owner wishes to be seen in every integrator service, he or she needs to be ready to encounter the tablet hell.
What is tablet hell
The tablet hell is seen when there are multiple tablets with orders to manage. With four major integrators on the market, the restaurant staff has to manage four tablets that constantly beep with notifications about the incoming order or a question from the customer. With the growing number of brands served by one owner, the number of tablets rises, entering the next levels of hell.
The owned channel is the easiest way to shift the orders from the external environment to the internal one and reduce the number of orders processed by the integrator service. And by that, the restaurant leaves the tablet hell.
When using a more sophisticated online ordering system like Ordering Stack, the restaurant owner can integrate the orders from the integrator services directly into the system. While this is not reducing the commission the owner pays, it is a significant relief for the team who needs not to manage the tablets and the stream of incoming messages.
Improved customer experience
The owned channel provides the owner with full control over the environment in which the order is placed. When armed with the data gathered by the same channel, the company can enter the endless process of optimization, building up the order value, conversion rates, and margin with incremental steps done every day.
On the other side of the same coin, the user gets a better-optimized and more convenient environment to order and buy food. The SuperOffice data shows clearly that the customer experience is one of the most effective ways of building a competitive advantage. For 45.9% of businesses surveyed, building a better customer experience will be the focus of the next 5 years. Also, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for the product, assuming that they will have better experiences.
More marketable approach
While the external platform provided by the integrator is the place to put marketing efforts in, it makes the overall marketing less effective. There is no clear way of marketing the brand without giving access to the competition’s offer when promoting the offer delivered via the integrator service.
Promoting owned channels ensures that there is no way to boost the competition or an external service with the budget spent.
Also with a much bigger control over the users’ flow and the effect of every campaign, it is much easier to spot the best performing techniques as well as to pick and reuse the best ones.
An integrator service like Uber Eats is a great way to enter the realm of the online sales of food. Yet it is a costly way to go in the long run. Thus, to improve the earnings, reduce the costs, and optimize processes, the company should build its own channels of digital delivery.
If you would like to know more about the ways to build your own online ordering, don’t hesitate to contact us now!