Online order apps - branded vs third party directory
Use both a directory service and a branded app for online orders to grow your business
Smart restaurant owners understand the need to use BOTH third party directory apps, such as UberEats and Menulog, AND their own branded app to build their business.
Most businesses appreciate that it makes simple marketing sense to firstly drive new traffic/people to your door to notice and try your product, and then to keep them coming back for more. Awareness comes before purchase.
For restaurants, local access, word-of-mouth and physical presence are often the default marketing for customer awareness. But is this enough in today’s digital world? For speed and convenience, customers are increasingly searching for services online and ordering online. New customers have to hear about you and your restaurant offering via different sources. This can take a huge investment in marketing.
Riding the wave of customer demand for the convenience of online ordering, fast food restaurants were swept up in what directory and delivery services like UberEats, Menulog and Deliveroo offered their businesses. With no investment in technology needed and no marketing spend, these services offer restaurants a big marketing digital presence that allows new customers to easily ‘discover’ your restaurant. All this at a seemingly low cost, and low effort – a user pays system.
But the marketing might of digital discovery does comes at a price
At face value it is a compelling offer – ‘you look after the food (what you do best) and we take care of the marketing, ordering, delivery’.
But is it? The real cost to restaurant businesses is becoming increasingly obvious:
- You become more dependent on the volume of business driven by directory sales
- As more restaurants in your area are added to these services, the less sales are directed your way
- You discount your business – in some cases, each sale actually costs you money
- More concerning, you discount your customer experience. The timely arrival of hot food, delivered in an appetising way that fairly presents your food and brand is out of your control
- You discount your brand – in fact, you’re actively building someone else’s brand (and indirectly allowing for the creation of ‘dark kitchens’).
- Your business becomes ‘trained’ to believe that this is the only way to do online ordering
Take back your brand – use dual strategies to build your business
Customers want fast convenience, digital connection and a great customer experience. And this trend will continue to grow. So how can you take back your brand and grow your business while not investing too heavily in technology? A branded app partner allows you to outsource the need for technology expertise while not outsourcing your brand.
Use the marketing might of directory services to allow new customers to ‘discover’, review and rate you online. Once a customer orders from you, start converting them to your own branded app. Give them reasons to want to download your app, and want to order more via your app. Build your own customer database, build your own brand, control the customer experience.
Customers who are unlikely to become regular customers – maybe passing through or visiting your area fleetingly, will continue to ‘find’ you via the directory services.
Finding an app partner that supports your business lets you take care of the customer and the customer experience, while they take care of the technology.
Barb Jones, Marketing Insights writer, CCI
Reference List & Related articles:
- Boyle, Patrick (2018, October 4). “We’re Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don’t” Some restaurateurs believe Uber Eats and Deliveroo have a digital chokehold on Australian restaurants. So why can’t they walk away? Broadsheet.com.au. Retrieved from https://www.broadsheet.com.au/national/food-and-drink/article/were-damned-if-we-do-damned-if-we-dont
- Brook, Benedict (2018, August 3) Foodora’s fail ‘no surprise’ as entire future of the food delivery industry is now questioned. News.com.au. Retrieved from https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/foodoras-fail-no-surprise-as-entire-future-of-the-food-delivery-industry-is-now-questioned/news-story/02e9279af97654a5bfb2fa6557d84f2a
- Capretta, Stephanie (2018, July 11). 5 Ways to Win Back Your Restaurant’s Customers from Grubhub. ChowNow Blog. Retrieved from https://get.chownow.com/blog/how-to-win-back-your-customers-and-profits-from-grubhub/