Do I need to join the Online Ordering platform that my neighboring restaurants are on?

Smartest Question a Restaurant Can Ask!

The most important part is done, you have asked the question - you would be suprised how many restaurants owners ignore asking questions and just do things before research. Only to have huge regrets later.

We have a great case study here but will leave out the restaurants name and city location. A new Greek Restaurant opened it up with amazingly great prices and a very decent menu with lots of homemade Greek specials. They quickly joined the nations largest Online Ordering company and Business was Booming! They even showed us their order sheets and where holding like 30 - 40 orders daily, drivers were busy, cooks were non-stop and the front of house server was busy non-stop between confirming orders, placing them and dealing with customers.

In the background - this 'National Company' that they joined, has tooked full control over their complete web listing. Their Google Place an Order button, their Website was attached to them and actually developed by the company. Everything was in the hads of this second party company.

Back to the business, their first check arrives and when they asked for a statement - nearly 25% is missing. For all that work, a full month of non-stop stress, 25% was missing from the top, it was actually putting the restaurant in the RED. So the business was extremely busy, the neighbors all see drivers constantly leaving - but the restaurant is actually operating in the negative.

The restaurant soon realizes they are working for this company. Everyone in the restaurant is actually working to satisfy this national company, as they are simply taking the full profit, while everyone is working - it really works out great... For the Company.

For the restaurant to survive, they have to pull the plug - so they do, they cancel their accounts. Their orders DROP instantly the next day, everyone searching for them on the web, thinks they are CLOSED! They let this go for a few weeks until they needed to quickly get business back to where it was. They raise their prices, are no longer as price-competitive as they were when they first opened and went back to this national company.

The point of the story is simple: If they would have done their research, today they would be able to stay price-competitive and build their own customer base. Instead no matter what happens going forward, they are working for the other company and virtually impossible to steer away, unless they spend a lot of efford in doing so.

Back to the Article:

Like everything else, a plan is needed before jumping at “Get more orders Today!” slogan. Because it’s all good and gravy when the orders start coming in. What’s scary is when a large percentage of your customer base - is no longer your customer base, and instead owned by the portal company which doesn’t even share your own customers data with you.

Unfortunately with recent changes on Google, this plan is more important than ever. These days when you join a large Online Ordering platform, be prepared that Google will list that provider on direct google Local searches for your name as an official “Place an order” button, that leads to the portal. This makes most of your customers believe that they are ordering from you directly. Unfortunately you end up paying this high percentage and giving up your own customer base to this portal.

While we wish we could tell you to avoid online ordering commission based portals like the plague, we know many of you are very set on it. And for those we have a great plan for you. We wouldn’t need this plan if Google was to simply link to your own place an order page but unfortunately today it doesn’t.

The Plan is quite simple: Have your own online ordering, prominently displayed on all of your materials (Menus, Pizza Boxes, Postcards) - and always offer lowest price to your direct customers. Small discount, free delivery, free appetizer, free cupcake. It sucks having to discount your product but if you are joining a network, then in the long run it’s better to offer small discount to your direct customers than to paying 20 - 25% to another company. Plus this company can turn around increase your rates at anytime and they can also market your direct competitors to your customers.

The other part of the plan is, if you are joining one network, then go ahead and join as many as possible. The reason is you should never allow any one company total control over your business. Your neighborhood or city may have it’s own local portal and online ordering as well. Local companies are probably more important than the national brands. A local Online Ordering Portal can bring you customers without taking away from your direct searches on Google, so be sure to check those out as well.

On and Off: one of the restaurants we work with suggested this and states it works for him really well. He goes onto the delivery platform once a week every 3 months with the highest commission possible, therefore he is seen as the first search result to all direct browsers of those websites and provides 25% off direct orders from their own website for the next month. Has been doing this for around 2 years and their own ordering system is booming off the charts. Has virtually no reliance on 3rd parties, his own customers know to order direct and when he does go onto the networks he picks up a few new loyal customers.

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