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Partnering with Delivery Apps or Going Solo?

In today's fast-paced world, convenience reigns supreme. Delivery apps have become ubiquitous, offering restaurants a gateway to a wider customer base and diners the luxury of enjoying restaurant meals from the comfort of their homes.However, the ease of delivery comes at a cost – commission fees charged by these apps can eat significantly into a restaurant's profit margin. So, for restaurateurs, the question arises: is partnering with them a path to profit, or a recipe for financial strain? This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of delivery apps, while also delving into alternative delivery models that restaurants can consider to optimise their reach and profitability.

Food Delivery Boy

The Allure of Delivery Apps: Convenience with Caveats

Delivery apps offer several undeniable advantages. They provide access to a vast pool of potential customers who might not otherwise visit your restaurant. They also handle marketing and order processing, streamlining your operations.Additionally, some apps offer data analytics that can provide valuable insights into customer preferences and ordering trends. However, the convenience of delivery apps comes with a hefty price tag. Commission fees can range from 20% to 30% of an order's total, significantly impacting your bottom line.

Beyond the App: Exploring Alternative Delivery Options

For restaurants seeking to maximise profits, exploring alternative delivery models is crucial. Here are a few options to consider:

  • In-House Delivery Teams: Building your own delivery team allows you to maintain complete control over the customer experience, from order to delivery. While the initial investment in vehicles and staff can be high, it can ultimately be more cost-effective in the long run, especially for high-volume restaurants.

  • Local Delivery Partnerships: Partnering with local delivery services can provide access to a wider delivery network without the high commission fees of major apps. These services often cater to specific areas, fostering a sense of community and potentially attracting a more loyal customer base.

  • Hybrid Approach: A hybrid approach can offer the best of both worlds. Partnering with a delivery app for peak hours or specific areas can expand your reach during busy periods, while maintaining an in-house delivery team for core customers.

Going Solo: A Chef's Perspective

However, not all restaurateurs subscribe to the traditional delivery app model. Chef Arouna Ilboudo, owner of the acclaimed Arouna Asia, believes in taking control of the delivery experience. When asked partnering with delivery apps or going solo? He simply answered, "Delivery apps take a big chunk of our profits," he says. "I wanted to develop my own application and have my delivery boys deliver our food directly to the customer, cutting out the middleman." This approach allows Chef Ilboudo to maintain control over pricing and ensure the quality of the food arrives exactly as intended.

Chef Arouna Ilboudo
Arouna Ilboudo | Photographed by Luqman Faisal

Making the Right Choice: A Balancing Act

The optimal delivery model depends on several factors, including your restaurant's size, budget, location, and target audience. Consider factors like:

  • Delivery Volume: If you anticipate high order volume, an in-house team might be more cost-effective in the long run.

  • Profit Margins: If your profit margins are tight, high commission fees charged by delivery apps can be detrimental.

  • Staffing Resources: Managing an in-house delivery team requires additional staff and resources. Carefully evaluate your staffing capacity before taking the plunge.

  • Customer Base: Research the demographics of your target audience and their preferred delivery methods.

Conclusion: Delivering Success on Your Terms

Delivery apps are a powerful tool, but they shouldn't be the only option in your delivery arsenal. By carefully analysing your needs and exploring alternative delivery models, you can create a system that maximises both your reach and your profitability. Ultimately, the goal is to deliver a seamless and enjoyable dining experience for your customers, while ensuring your restaurant thrives in the ever-evolving world of food delivery.

The Future of Delivery

Chef Ilboudo's approach highlights a potential future for independent restaurants. As technology evolves, creating a custom delivery app might become a more viable option for some businesses. However, it's important to weigh the costs and complexities of app development against the potential benefits.

For most restaurants, the best strategy will likely involve a combination of approaches. Partnering with delivery apps for a limited scope while developing an in-house delivery team or local partnerships can create a well-rounded delivery system that caters to a wider audience and protects your bottom line.


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