It’s no surprise that customers love the convenience of ordering food online. The benefit of not leaving your house and still having access to your favorite dishes makes the delivery fee and tip worth the cost for many.
Food delivery apps capitalize on the food delivery model, offering convenience and a variety of restaurant options, each with their own unique menu items. Now, instead of going through a restaurant, the ease of ordering is facilitated by a standardized online ordering process.
A delivery app provides the potential for a seamless user experience based on an intuitive user interface. Although, anyone who has used this service knows that a seamless experience is not always what’s provided. Many food delivery apps are far from perfect and there is much to learn from these poor examples. The benefits and drawbacks of current food ordering platforms indicate the possibility of a better, more-customized software solution for restaurants.
Benefits of Food Ordering Apps
Often, restaurants listed on food apps offer menus that are different or more limited than those available in-house. A variety in offerings allows customers to order a restaurant’s staple items or branch out and try new things, while helping the restaurant staff manage online orders efficiently. However, customers might not realize restaurant chains use food apps as an opportunity to test new menu items – sometimes under an entirely different business name. Through online ordering platforms, restaurants can pose as “delivery only” brands that have been dubbed, “virtual restaurants.”
Food apps offer the potential for delivery to small businesses who would otherwise be unable to sustain the staff required for private delivery services. In addition to supplying delivery drivers, these food ordering apps also take care of other tasks including managing customer orders and payments, and providing marketing and greater online exposure for restaurants.
Drawbacks of Food Delivery Apps
Though delivery apps allow small businesses to offer food delivery services, the process is not without challenges. Delivery tracking is an added benefit, though this feature can sometimes be inaccurate. Mistimed or incorrectly fulfilled orders generate frustration from restaurant customers and may unintentionally reflect poorly on the restaurant itself.
Restaurants are also burdened by delivery fees and service charges that cut deeply into their already thin profit margins. At the same time, online food ordering companies like DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats are struggling with profitability as well, requiring them to sink money into this business model or charge additional fees — hiking up their already high prices.
This has spurred small businesses to ask customers to skip third party apps entirely and order through the restaurants directly. Additionally, some states are beginning to limit the fees that can be charged by delivery companies.
To make matters worse, certain restaurant owners are surprised and upset to find that they are listed on these platforms, without their permission. While far from ideal, other businesses feel like they have no choice but to opt into third party delivery.
This service is especially critical as restaurants are just starting to open their doors again and foresee limited dine-in traffic for months. Without the technology and employees to support delivery, they must resort to the delivery services that are currently available.
On the customer side, app users are left at the mercy of the delivery company to get their order right. The lack of control sometimes leads to incorrect or cold meals by the time the food makes it to its destination. When you factor in the pricing and tipping fees, paying more for convenience doesn’t always create a pleasant dining experience.
The list of challenges goes on, leading us to ask, Is this a broken business model? And, if so, what can be done to fix it?
What Restaurants and Customers Look For In Food Delivery Services
From these lessons, we can start to get an idea of what customers and restaurants want and expect from food delivery services.
We know that customers like the convenience of ordering food online and they appreciate a variety of menu offerings with competitive pricing. They want their food to arrive on time, crafted to their order specifications.
Restaurants want to offer delivery, but it must be profitable for them. They would also appreciate greater control — or at least awareness — of the process, even if it is outsourced.
The food delivery solution should offer:
- An online menu and ordering process that is navigable and customizable. Restaurants should be able to manage this menu to reflect any changes or times when they run out of certain items.
- Transparent pricing, fees and tipping options for both the customer and the restaurant.
- Options for communication with the restaurant, such as a note section for supplying information about food allergies.
- A secure payment portal for customers to complete their order and restaurants to be billed and paid accordingly for their transactions.
- Features for customers to track their order and communicate with the delivery driver.
- A process to offer occasional coupons or specials to reward customers, such as a built-in loyalty program.
As the search for a profitable and fair delivery solution continues, restaurants and delivery services may consider alternative monetization options, such as a subscription-style plan in the future.
Custom Software Development for the Restaurant Industry
Many restaurants would benefit from the development of a custom software solution that would expand the capabilities of their services. Delivery may only be one part of the portal as an outward facing service. In addition to the features listed above, a back-office solution for managing employees schedules and tracking ingredient inventory could be implemented too.
The possibilities are vast, from inventory management and ordering to analyzing sales data, peak hours and menu item performance.
Predictive or advanced analytics can also be used to determine server scheduling and the number of delivery drivers that need to be active at one time, depending on hourly demand. Restaurants can even tailor or alter their menu based on the available data. A clean, effective UI/UX that offers precisely what customers want will impress both customers and those who work in the restaurant industry.
Technology solutions such as custom software or mobile apps should help, rather than hinder, businesses. While restaurants have struggled with — and have often been victimized by — third party platforms, these are not their only options. Instead of losing money and fighting to remain profitable, they could invest in personalized, reliable software that will allow them to scale and expand their services.
Start Your Development Project
The biggest testament to a software solution’s success is its ROI. If your business is ready to develop a solution with a powerful ROI, 7T is ready to help. We specialize in developing custom software that utilizes the latest technologies to help businesses solve problems and reach their goals.
Additionally, we offer cloud integration services, data governance and data lake creation tools, mobile app development and software consulting services for businesses that are ready to undergo digital transformation to scale their business. To discuss your development project, connect with our team today.