F&B merchants are now considering setting up their own delivery platform
Since its uncontrollable outbreak, Covid 19 has been taking a toll on the global economy causing substantial loss to the majority of industries. Food and beverages (F&B) emerges as a front-line victim being suffered from the attack of this pandemic. Many restaurants around the world are now closed as self-imposed isolation and mass quarantine situations have made a trip to the store fraught with challenges. Some are still operating while experiencing a hard dip in revenue due to the shutdown of the walk-in service. Amidst the chaos, food deliveries are becoming a life vest for F&B merchants.
F&B IS WITNESSING A SURGE IN DELIVERY DEMAND
Social distancing has been encouraged to prevent the spread of Covid 19, which means people are staying at home and enjoying food being delivered door to door. According to Statista, there has been a considerable uptick in the total number of users in online food delivery service. In 2020, the market analyst firm reported 22.5m users, representing an increase of 9.8% on the same period in 2019. The online food delivery service is growing in leaps and bounds thanks to its wide variety of opportunities to both merchants and customers.
“Adapt or die" scenario has forced F&B outlets to rethink their approach to customers nowadays. The transition from dine-in to dine-out makes merchants who did not previously offer delivery now step into this service, and for those that already had an online delivery presence now depends vastly on it. Given the fact that only take-aways are permitted, the operators need a platform to deliver their food. They tend to select a third-party delivery service to partner with. Obviously as it can be seen, this collaboration becomes the mainstream of sales for F&B owners in the current situation.
WHAT DIFFICULTIES THAT F&B MERCHANTS ARE DEALING WITH?
Is partnership with an online delivery party a one-size-fits-all answer to all F&B outlets? It's probably not and here is the reasons:
- Attention fighting: Being listed on the same marketplace with tons of different restaurants might lead to the decrease of customers' attention to your business. As you have no option to personalise on the delivery platform, it gives you no selling points.
- The loss of control: Once the food is delivered, you hold no accountability over drivers and how the food is delivered. If, for any unwanted reasons, your customer's food ends up late or is mishandled, you are fully responsible for it, not drivers or the platform. You have to monitor how long it takes for drivers to deliver the food and if it is handled with care. Otherwise, the customers' grievance can fall on you. However, you have a restaurant to run and micromanaging the third-party service can take you away from that.
- The loss of communication with your end customers: It is utmost important in business to entrench brand loyalty by maintaining a positive brand awareness and ensure the seamless customer experience. Nevertheless, when working via the platform, you have no direct line of communication with diners.
- Hefty commission fees: This reason is a main impediment for every F&B owner when cooperating with the third party. A huge chunk of money, the least is 30% and up to 40% will be charged on every order. It's hard for food merchants to add the commission fee to their food prices because this would affect buyers’ decision, while customers can easily compare prices among other places before making an order. Covid 19 has made food merchants rely solely on delivery to maintain the business continuity, now they have to spend a third of their already-thin profits on this fee. Needless to say, beset by high commission rates is squeezing them even harder.
HOW TO EASE THE PAIN POINTS?
Hardly can we deny the benefits brought by the online food delivery service in helping food merchants out in this chaos. However, despite the pros, it also drags a bunch of difficulties which force the business owners to juggle many challenges at the same time. In response to the situation, setting up an own online ordering site can empower F&B operators with their digital presence. As in the Statista report, the number of users on restaurant-to-customer delivery has always been larger than platform-to-customer delivery (a difference of roughly about 68 million users in 2020). That means restaurants are likely to reach a wide variety of potential customers. Besides, having a personalises platform allows a greater customers' engagement versus having to fight for attention in one marketplace on a delivery service.
It's now high time for food merchants to take their control back. In this harsh competition to survive amidst the pandemic, a top-notch customer experience is utmost important to retain their loyalty, hence, keeping the delivery process in house is such a wise decision. Not only do you train your delivery staff, you'll be able to manage the complete process from order to delivery. As you are empowered by your own platform, it's way more easier to stay in touch with your customers, which allows you to obtain feedback and implement any changes instantly. Since now you do not have to wait for the third party’s acceptance if you want to adjust prices and menu items.
While setting up your own platform may require an initially serious investment but not having to pay a commission fee surely benefits in the long run. Food merchants no longer have to extract from their meagre revenue for the outsourcing service. The omission of the hefty fees will allow restaurants to lower the online prices leading to the ability of reaching more potential customers.
ADVANCED INTEGRATION TO YOUR ONLINE DELIVERY PLATFORM
More than just consolidating orders and payments, the system can provide customer databases and execute loyalty programs. Based on this data, F&B operators can directly promote special offers or discounts to targeted customers, which contributes to order repeats and repurchase rates. Moreover, new technologies on the platform enable the operators to synchronise 020 (Online to Offline) strategies, giving a seamless customer experience and a systematic management in driving the business growth. Moreover, powered by various payment options and payment gateway integration will facilitate both customers and operators when it comes to the payment step.