Sep. 16, 2015

Boost Sales with Third Party Delivery Apps

by Lisa Arnett

Last fall, Chicago restaurant GT Fish & Oyster launched lunch delivery service with the intention of boosting daytime takeout sales among nearby office workers. But tracking orders quickly turned into a headache due to clunky email tracking and complicated parking and security procedures of various buildings, says general manager Emily Finkelstein.

Within a matter of months, Finkelstein decided to ditch in-house delivery drivers in favor of third party delivery sites Caviar and Uber Eats, and considered using Postmates, too. Unlike online delivery sites such as GrubHub and Seamless, which showcase restaurants that already offer delivery, third party delivery removes the work by providing drivers.

“Having a way to go to a website or app seemed to be something guests were more inclined to use (than emailing their order),” she says. “And for us, not have to worry about the delivery—once it leaves the doors it’s out of our hands—is much easier.”

Here’s the lowdown on all three services, which also have free apps for iPhone and Android.

CAVIAR

How it works: Caviar reps meet with each restaurant to determine which dishes are best suited for delivery. The company then creates a custom page on the Caviar app and website, sending a photographer to shoot original images. Caviar provides an iPad equipped with an app that notifies the kitchen staff when an order has been placed. After staff acknowledges the order, Caviar dispatches a courier to pick up and deliver.
Cost to customers: Delivery charges range from $1.99 to $4.99 depending on distance, plus an automatic service fee of 18 percent.
Cost to owners: Caviar sets a pricing structure with each restaurant and doesn't disclose the terms of its agreements, but Finkelstein says GT Fish & Oyster pays Caviar a percentage of each delivery sale.
Bonus: Fastbite is Caviar’s spin-off service in San Francisco and New York City that features three to five daily lunch and dinner options delivered within 15 minutes for $15 or less.

UBER EATS 

How it works: Uber Eats drivers load up their cars with two or three lunch options from select restaurants in a given city. Customers use the Uber app to order food and drivers deliver it to them within 10 minutes. Dishes may be signatures from the current menu, usually about the same in-store price point. Uber Eats staff helps restaurants select dishes that travel well, often conducting trial runs to make sure the product and packaging holds up.
Cost to customers: $3 delivery fee per order, along with the option to split the delivery fee with another Uber Eats user.
Cost to owners: Uber Eats collects a commission from restaurants on the meals ordered.
Bonus: Unlike Uber's car and taxi services, there's no surge pricing. Also, because Uber Eats bills itself as a “curated” service, it only partners with a limited number of restaurants, and options change daily.

POSTMATES

How it works: Postmates isn’t limited to restaurants—couriers pick up and deliver anything a customer wants, from burritos or a dozen doughnuts to a new pair of shoes, within one hour.
Cost to customer: Delivery fees start at $5 depending on distance, plus a 9 percent service fee. Upon delivery, customers can add an optional tip of 10, 15, or 20 percent, which goes entirely to the individual courier. Charges may increase during peak times (Postmates calls this “Blitz Pricing” and notifies the customer before they accept).
Cost to owner: Partnering restaurants create a custom, delivery-friendly menu that is featured higher up in the app’s feed of choices and pay a percentage of every transaction before tax and tip. Restaurants that don’t partner might inadvertently find their restaurant listed on Postmates, as customers can request a Postmates delivery order from any restaurant that offers carryout. The only difference is the order is placed by Postmates either online or by phone and picked up by a courier instead of the customer. There is no additional cost to you.
Bonus: Partnered restaurants can be featured in the $4.99 Favorites section, which offers customers a flat $4.99 delivery fee regardless of location and distance traveled.

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