All those delivery apps aren't your friend. They're a necessary evil, and you should cut them out of your margin ASAP.
Door Dash: Good for initially getting a customer.
Uber Eats (as well as Door Dash, Grub Hub, and all the delivery apps) take a huge cut of your margin.
As a restaurant owner, you know this.
But what can you do about it?
You don’t want to leave those platforms because of the exposure they give you.
But you want to actually make enough money to get by, and you see how much those fees hurt your books.
So what can you do?
Put a flyer in your to go orders that simply says “Help us out by ordering directly from our site next time” with your website address. That’s all you need to do.
If you want to go a step further, educate customers on how the delivery apps take 15 to 30% of your profit. Remind customers that it may very well be cheaper for them to order directly from you as well! As then they’d miss the fees that they pay to use those apps.
This way, you’re still using those platforms for the exposure and to get new customers, but you’re able to really increase the chance that they’ll order from you directly, so your margin on their lifetime value as a customer just went up a lot.
With a business, your Customer Acquisition Cost is a factor, and for a restaurant you can consider that first order with Uber Eats etc as your acquisition channel, and the portion that you pay to Uber Eats to be your Customer Acquisition Cost. You’re likely going to pay something to get a new customer if you’re actively marketing your restaurant anyway.
But getting them to come back directly is really going to help you financially.
Is this risky?
A little bit, perhaps. It probably goes against the terms of service with these delivery apps, so they could kick you off their platform if they realized what you’re doing.
But they probably won’t find out, and even if they did, they’re making money off having you on the platform, so it would hurt them to remove you.
So while it’s very unlikely you’d get in trouble with them for doing this, be aware that it’s still possible.
What about delivery?
But what about those who rely on the delivery apps for, you know, delivery?
This tactic is best for a place that does a lot of pick up, or has a built in delivery team. But for those restaurants who rely on delivery apps to actually get the customers their food, you may convert less people to direct customers.
But even if you convert a portion of customers, while many keep using the apps for delivery, it’s still worth it.
If your location allows dine in, you may want your flyer to include information or a picture of your dining space to encourage people who have found you through and only experienced you by the delivery apps to actually come eat in your restaurant.
Get radical, take back your profit
If you’re up for it, get started today by printing out a simple honest message on your office printer and start putting them in your to-go bags. Be sure to include your website address!
If you see an uptick in direct orders, you may want to tweak your flyers. Use colored paper to get more attention, experiment with your message, or spring for glossy professional flyers that include pictures of your dining space if you’re trying to convince people to dine in.
Ever think of adding shirts to your take out menu?
I write a lot about restaurant marketing, but I’m actually the founder of Vacord Screen Printing, and the main marketing guy there, so I gotta take this opportunity to tell you to add t-shirts to your take out offering.
Why? Shirts have a good margin, they turn customers into walking billboards, and adding a shirt sale to a take out order can easily double the ticket value.
People who are big fans of your restaurant are willing to support you (especially in these tough times) by buying and wearing your shirts, so make sure you’ve got shirts listed on your to-go menu!
Want to see more about our shirt offerings? Check out what we do, get in touch with us about an order, or see how our merch re-order stores can make it easy for you to get more staff shirts and customer merch whenever you need to re-stock.