Should Your Restaurant Offer Food Delivery?

A growing number of restaurants are starting to provide food delivery. But is it the right decision for your restaurant? This post explores some of the considerations you need to make before accepting deliveries.

What are the benefits of offering food delivery?

A food delivery service is almost certain to increase sales. It can be particularly beneficial for restaurants with limited seating inside who may find themselves turning away customers.

Promoting your food delivery services through platforms like Just Eat can also result in increased exposure. In areas with a high density of restaurants, it can help you to stand out – particularly from restaurants that don’t offer food delivery.

What are the drawbacks of offering food delivery?

Delivery drivers need to be paid to take your food to customers. You need to be prepared to take this cost out of your profits, or increase prices for food delivery services to cover this cost.

Food delivery can also create added potential for problems. This could include everything from food getting damaged during transit to food going to the wrong address.

You also need to be prepared to deal with conflict involving couriers. If an item is forgotten, food is cold on arrival, or food is damaged, you need to work out if it’s your fault or theirs in order to process a refund if necessary.

How will you deliver food to customers?

There are two ways to deliver food to customers. The first is to use third-party services like Deliveroo and UberEats. The second is to hire your own delivery drivers who work exclusively for your company.

Using third-party services is generally cheaper, and more suitable if you are likely to receive a high level of takeaway orders. However, it is not as easy to keep track of these delivery staff or solve conflicts if they arise.

Hiring your own drivers can be more expensive because you’ll have to pay them a wage and possibly even pay for their vehicle. It does however allow you to take on full responsibility for issues that occur during delivery, which means that you don’t have to argue with delivery drivers about who is at fault.

Technically, there is a third option of letting customers pick up orders themselves. This is the cheapest option and puts all responsibility with the customer, but it is less convenient for the customer and may attract less sales. Such a service should be clearly marketed as a ‘pick-up’ take-away service rather than ‘delivery’.

How much extra will it cost you?

Third party drivers typically receive 30% commision on every order, while employee drivers will cost you a lot more. That said, you will be bringing in increased income with every delivery.

Small extra costs to consider include takeaway packaging and potentially mobile card readers if you want to allow customers to pay upon arrival. Make sure to budget for these extras.

Is food delivery something that your customers want?

If customers have been asking about food delivery, this is a sure sign that it’s time to start delivering food. You should similarly take a look at what your direct competitors are doing – if other restaurants serving similar food are providing delivery, so should you.

Of course, if you offer experiential dining such as teppanyaki cooking or live music, there may be little need to offer a take-away service, as customers may prefer the physical experience of dining at your restaurant. Similarly, when it comes to fine dining, food delivery may not be worthwhile.


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