Consumer appetite for convenience is continuing its upward trajectory, and with that, delivery operations are expanding as a proportion of a restaurant’s revenue take. The challenge is to ensure operational costs don’t erode the broader margin for full-service restaurants, with profitability in the delivery channel becoming more and more difficult to achieve. This is down to increases in the cost of labor, fuel, insurance and marketplace charges, together with difficulties in attracting staff within the sector. Taking everything into consideration, it’s easy to see why restaurant brands are desperately seeking alternatives to ensure their customers get the service they deserve.
There are many amazing companies helping restaurant brands overcome these challenges, including Flybuy for guest pickup experience, Soundhound for voice-assisted ordering, and 7Shifts for team management. Specifically for delivery however, customized delivery technology plays a critical role and without it, operating a successful delivery business at scale is simply not possible.
So what does a delivery management solution look like? Firstly, it must focus on the restaurant sector, because a product that doubles as an e-commerce or CBD delivery solution does not have a clear enough focus on solving industry-specific problems. Secondly, it must be easy to access and integrate to a restaurant’s existing tech stack such as Square, Toast, SpotOn, Olo, Deliverect, Chowly, or Flipdish. Finally, it should provide access to multiple fleets like Uber Direct, DoorDash Drive, Skipcart, and Relay, so that businesses have unlimited driver coverage at the lowest possible rates.
A comprehensive delivery solution will automate how deliveries are dispatched, whether a restaurant is using in-house drivers or third-party fleets. This is made possible when a Driver App is part of the solution’s product suite. Of course, in-house drivers should always get first priority, but when they are unavailable, the system should have the ability to bounce orders to the chosen third-party fleet. That way, restaurants will only use and pay for external fleets when the need arises, and the extensive fleet coverage means businesses never compromise on advertised delivery times and needn’t worry about the ability to fulfill all orders during peak trading times. With maximum fulfillment, trading hours can be extended and delivery zones expanded, meaning more customers and increased revenue, so everyone’s a winner.
For restaurants who outsource all of their deliveries, it’s always best to pool orders from all sources and filter them through to the business’ preferred fleet. A great delivery management system will easily facilitate this, secure unadvertised and discounted delivery rates from fleets, and provide complete visibility of where those third-party drivers are and what service levels they are achieving. Needless to say, this is crucially important for owners and managers, because it is vital that the business understands how its customers are being serviced. The alternative—poor ratings and negative reviews—doesn’t bear thinking about.
There are myriad technologies on the market, but the right delivery tech will have a bunch of built-in key features such as driver ETA for the kitchen, driver chat for both restaurant and customer communication, and automated order stacking so that one driver can take multiple orders to increase efficiency. Having everything together in one tech solution brings a whole new level of convenience when it comes to managing a busy delivery operation.
A state-of-the-art delivery management solution will enable restaurant brands to offer an exceptional delivery experience to the end customer. It will ensure the fastest possible delivery times through automated dispatch, multi-order stacking, smart routing support, and extensive coverage across multiple fleets. It’s worth following in the footsteps of iconic brands such as Papa Johns, who obsess about reducing their delivery times because they know it leads to positive reviews, customer retention, and better rankings on marketplace apps.
Communication is Key
In addition to recognizing the importance of speedy deliveries, businesses providing real-time communication between the restaurant and customer are certainly at an advantage. An efficient delivery management solution should have the ability to send real-time tracking to a customer’s phone, ensuring they know exactly where their driver is once they leave the restaurant. This feature can, of course, be surrounded by branding, displaying strong digital content such as advertising, or access to the brand’s loyalty program. For a restaurant, this engaging feature has added cost saving benefits—customers won’t need to call with delivery enquiries, and staff won’t spend their time fielding calls.
Restaurant brands such as Papa Gino’s have transformed their delivery operations in the last 12 months, simply by adopting the right delivery management solution. They have taken back control of the customer experience, flipped the dynamic between the restaurant brand and marketplace delivery app, and most importantly, realized enormous cost savings through efficiency, with a reported 24 percent reduction in spend.
These benefits, and ultimately delivery profitability, are available to all restaurant brands, regardless which delivery fleet they use or how many locations they have. And there’s more: The price they pay for a comprehensive delivery solution should be a fraction of the savings they will make on each delivery order. The solutions are all out there—restaurants just need to know where to look.
Brian Hickey is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder at VROMO – the leading Delivery Management Solution for the restaurant industry. Brian has extensive global experience in the food and beverage markets, having worked in a senior executive capacity with a number of major international food brands and delivery companies such as Procter and Gamble, Danone, Innocent Drinks and Just Eat Takeaway Group. In 2018, he invested in and became a board member at delivery firm, WeBringg. The following year, having acquired a software solution company that supported hot food delivery, the business pivoted to a SaaS model and rebranded as VROMO. Brian became CEO of VROMO in 2021 and has been overseeing the company’s growth in the North American market ever since.