Turning 3PD users into brand regulars

By : Rohan Rodney

August 26, 2019 08:00 AM

It’s complicated: The relationship between brand, consumer and third-party delivery


Third-party delivery isn’t a passing fad – this is a sea change in the dynamic between restaurant brands and consumers. Just consider these recent facts:


  • Mintel reports that nine in 10 food-delivery service consumers in the U.S. say it makes their lives easier.
  • It also cites that nearly a third (31%) are using these services at least twice a week.
  • The $13B third-party delivery market is projected to grow 13.5% annually, according to Pentallect,  and is expected to reach $24.5 billion by 2022.


It’s a hotly debated topic; restauranteurs either see it as an opportunity to expand their reach, or as the loss of control over the consumer relationship. But, in fact, it can be both. And it all depends on your strategies for engaging with third-party partners.


Let’s look at what you need to do to make this trend work.


  1. Synchronize your technology - One of the biggest disadvantages restauranteurs say they have with third-party services is siloed transaction and associated data. Using tablets issued by the delivery provider that then requires a manual input of orders into your point-of-sale can choke up your existing operations - from the front of house, to food preparation and packaging, to the actual pickup and delivery of the order. Integrating third-party orders directly with your POS means increased efficiency, management and insights for orders coming through these channels.
  2. Recognize that convenience is king…but so are quality, speed and accuracy - The convenience factor is what drives consumers to use third-party delivery. What converts them to loyalists is how you come through on your brand promise. Use technologies that help you better forecast and prepare off-prem orders to deliver the same high-quality food to these customers’ homes as they would get in-store. Further, help streamline the delivery process so drivers can deliver orders in a timely manner, such as creating a designated pickup spot and using digital signage to let drivers know when the order is ready.
  3. Find creative ways to translate brand elements off-premises - Even if it’s not feasible to have your own delivery fleet, it’s possible to extend your brand past the four walls of your restaurant. Details matter. From packaging, to free “token gift” items or other unique touches, don’t miss the chance to make any and every touchpoint more meaningful.
  4. Connect with consumers by seeking feedback - Another way to build a deeper relationship with these third-party delivery customers – as well as gain direct feedback about the quality of food you’re providing – is by rewarding them for their input about their experience. Consider including short surveys with the order asking for feedback in exchange for a discount or free item with their next visit. This invites consumers to experience your restaurant in a different way while gaining valuable market insights for continuous improvement.
  5. Give consumers a reason to return, in other channels - Consumers aren’t necessarily looking for your restaurant when they use third-party apps – they’re hungry and they want a variety of options. You have the opportunity, though, to convert them into thinking of your brand first the next time they’re hungry. You can work with delivery services to promote your brand to attract consumers, then include things to drive engagement with your own channels (mobile app coupons, rewards for signing up for your loyalty program, special dine-in deals with the packaging, etc.).


If you’re curious about integrating third-party delivery services, and optimizing other capabilities to build a future-ready, digitally enabled operation, our team is here to help. We’re proud to help more than 75,000 restaurants worldwide serve their customers better with our comprehensive suite of industry-specific solutions. To learn more, send us a message.






Rohan Rodney

Rohan Rodney is a Product Marketing Manager for NCR Hospitality. In this role, he communicates the vision and value of NCR's portfolio in meeting the market needs of the restaurant industry.