At first, food delivery seemed like the perfect solution for restaurants: get your food into the hands of hungry customers. On the positive side, delivery services offer a sense of discovery, since delivery services introduce diners to new restaurants; and they are a brilliant solution for mobility-impaired customers.
However, humans are creatures of habit. Once someone gets used to having food delivered to their door, they will be less likely to dine out, and this is hurting restaurants in ways they never anticipated. Even worse:
- Restaurants have to pay 20-30% in commissions, which eats into margins
- Restaurants still have overhead at their physical location including wait staff salaries, no matter how busy or quiet the restaurant is at any given time
- Restaurants may spend money and effort improving the in-house dining experience, and now it’s hard to recoup those costs
- The restaurant’s brand image may be damaged by unprofessional third party drivers (although studies show that people often value convenience over professionalism)
But here’s the biggest problem: consumers become more loyal to the third-party delivery service than they do to the restaurant, and these services collect customer data that they do not share with the restaurants - preventing restaurants from effectively marketing to customers who use delivery services.
A restaurant wanting to take back business from delivery aggregates must differentiate the in-house experience from the delivery experience. This can include:
- Offering dine-in-only discounts via GrabQpons, a convenient location-based app where diners can find enticing real-time deals - perfect for encouraging spontaneous nights out that could otherwise turn into “let’s just get delivery.”
- Offering a full menu to dine-in customers (via GrabQpons and in person) but limit the menu items that appear on an aggregator’s site.
- Offering dine-in-only loyalty programs similar to the “must be present to win” raffle approach
While delivery services aren’t going away anytime soon, the trick is to get people to reconnect with restaurants on a more personal level, and get used to the joys of eating out again.