Delivery and pickup are what helped restaurants make it through the lockdowns. When dining-in was completely banned, these were the only available options for restaurants to continue operating. With phones ringing off the hook, restaurants needed a more efficient manner to process orders and so they turned to food ordering apps.

Since food ordering apps were the instant fix restaurants needed to brave the pandemic, it is easy to see them simply as a sales channel. Another equally valuable benefit of these platforms that is too often overlooked is cost-cutting. Food ordering apps help restaurants avoid unnecessary expenses because:

  • They are run and managed internally

    Food ordering apps are easy to navigate and manage. Setting it up is straightforward and takes very little time. There is no need to hire an expert and pay additional wages or fork out money for extensive training for staff. Once it is up and running anyone working in the restaurant can use it and there will be no need to bring in a designated app operator. Staff with access to the app can swiftly make changes, carrying out menu updates, activating promotions, changing photos and executing any other tweaks as needed. Because there is no need to pay someone new to operate the app, these platforms save restaurants a lot of money.

  • They prevent mistakes

    By digitizing the taking of orders, food ordering apps remove the element of human error (at least from the restaurant's side). The restaurant receives the customer's order exactly as it was placed. Nothing gets lost in translation due to static on the phone line, background noise or even thick accents. The customer can make special requests and customize the dishes through the notes function on the app and the restaurant can follow these instructions. Ultimately the restaurant is able to give the customer exactly what they requested, preempting returned orders or complaints, both of which are very costly. Should there be any queries on an order, the records can be accessed by both sides and the matter can be quickly resolved. The food ordering app eliminates the costs associated with botched up orders and saves restaurants a lot of money.

  • They are data goldmines

    Understanding customers and their preferences is key to a successful business. Food ordering apps offer data analytics that give restaurant operators valuable insights into customers. Information on what the most popular dishes are, what times menu items are most in demand, what special requests customers make, and other such facts are vital for decision-making and marketing. Data analytics show restaurateurs the ground reality of their operations, reveal areas that need attention and make predictions about future sales. Contracting a data specialist is expensive - there are very few of them around and they are in high demand. By doing away with the need for an expert, the in-app data analytics saves restaurants a lot of money.

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There is one caveat, though. This kind of saving happens only when a restaurant has their own custom-branded app. Aggregators charge restaurants very hefty fees and these can range from 15-30%. Restaurants already operate on very slim margins and these exorbitant commissions mean that most food outlets do not make any money when using an aggregator. True, the orders keep rolling in, but once the fees have been deducted there is no profit. The extreme situation is that restaurants actually make losses through these third-party apps.

When a restaurant has its own custom-branded food ordering app, the only cost involved is a nominal flat monthly fee. There is no third-party to pay commissions to and so they get to keep all the profits they make.


Published Jan 21, 2022

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