Published September 15, 2022
The restaurant industry's third-party food delivery space is a crowded one, with DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates and UberEats taking up most of the online space. Spurred by the instability of in-person dining due to the pandemic, restaurant takeout and delivery apps were embraced out of necessity by most restaurants during the COVID-19 indoor dining closures. However, there's no doubt that third-party delivery marketplaces are here to stay — and an integral part of most restaurants' business plans.
Having a robust takeout business is necessary for many restaurants' financial stability. After all, if you're not consistently filling up the dining room or you don't have the staff to run a full restaurant, you still need to make ends meet by selling more food. And consumers like the food delivery model too, mainly because it's convenient and quick. According to the IMARC Group, the global online food delivery market reached $106.1 billion in U.S. dollars in 2021, and IMARC is predicting the market to reach even higher to $223.7 billion by 2027, for a growth rate (CAGR) of 11.44% from 2022-2027.
To make it in this new high-stakes delivery market, your restaurant and its menu items need to stand out. Here are five ways to get your restaurant and its dishes to the top of a hungry diners' queue on food delivery apps.
Nothing can kill an appetite and cause a prospective diner to click away faster than unappealing food photos. Consider hiring a food photographer to take shots of all the food you list for delivery. But, note that professional photography is a marketing expense, generally costing anywhere from $150 to $400 an hour. It could be worth investing in, though. A great photographer is going to find a way to help your dishes stand out and pop in photos.
According to GrubHub, switching from a text-based to photo-based menu can increase conversion rates — or the rate that viewers become purchasers — by up to 25%. Simply having great food isn't enough, you'll need good menu item photos to make your third party food delivery integration a success.
If you want to try and do it yourself, follow these tips to take good photos of your menu items:
Everybody loves a deal. And in the age of sky-high inflation, consumers certainly aren't shy about shopping around for the best buys on delivery food. Offering deals can help your restaurant stand out, especially if the app you're using has a "special deals" section where your deals will be automatically highlighted if a user chooses that option. You might cater your deals to the type of customer you're looking to attract — new customers are likely to be swayed by free items, especially a “buy one get one free” deal, while returning customers might be attracted with a "spend $25, save $5" type promotion.
Another strategy for successful third-party food delivery integration is to create a family meal that bundles several menu items into a single price. For example, at a barbecue restaurant, you might have a family meal deal that offers two pounds of meat, plus four sides and cornbread for a fixed (discounted) price. It'll help with decision making on the consumer end, too. Or give different themes a go for your discounts. Experiment to see what drives the type of business you're looking for.
Simply put, restaurant engineering is creating a menu in which each item helps to drive growth and profit. You may want to highlight popular, high revenue items at the top of your online menu to drive ordering. You might also choose to only list certain items on your delivery app menu and keep the lower performing ones off entirely.
Keep in mind that data and inventory management are important tools for getting the information you need to create a menu that pleases the customer and makes money for the restaurant. You'll also want to lean on good inventory management techniques, which helps to eliminate food waste and streamline ordering so you never have too many or too few ingredients. Use tools like a real-time analytics app to forecast sales and pull up past sales and order data quickly.
Related: Third-Party Delivery Services: How do you improve your consistency?
Yes, ratings matter on third-party food delivery apps, and you'll want yours to be as high as possible. If you've spent any time at all reading customer complaints online about restaurant delivery, you'll know that the following are essential in getting and keeping a 4+ star review. Here are a few ways to ensure top ratings on any online marketplace:
While there's no magic wand for getting user reviews, customers generally post a review when they love something or hate it. Going out of your way to make the customer experience flawless from start to finish will help you get the kind of review you're seeking, as will offering a little something extra.
Maybe it's a complimentary cookie or a hand-written thank-you note requesting an in-app review, but whatever you choose, adding the occasional extra into a delivery bag can go a long way into garnering a 4+ star review, especially from loyal customers. After all, they like your food and want you to stay in business and they know that new reviews are key to winning the third-party food delivery game.
Implementing these five tactics for making your third-party food delivery shine will generate more sales from existing customers and help gain new ones, too. Delivery is here to stay, so why not make the most of it and boost your business in the process?