The Fear of Delivery Remains

UberEats is the most popular third-party delivery service in the Buckeye State (RTS photo)

A new survey from the Ohio Restaurant Association suggests that delivery is growing in the Buckeye State, though very gingerly. Roughly 40 percent of survey respondents (85 in all) said they now use small-order delivery (see chart below). UberEATS is the top choice for delivery with Amazon Restaurants second, Door Dash third, Grub Hub fourth and Postmates fifth.

The association, which commissioned Cleveland Research Company to do the study, said the “results reflect the input of almost $353 million in sales for Ohio restaurants.” Respondents averaged 3.4 restaurants per company while sales per company averaged $3.6 million.

Key findings of the report include:

  • 60% of respondents are not leveraging small-order delivery today.
  • Of those doing delivery, 20 percent use their own drivers and 20 percent use 3rd parties or a combination of internal + 3rd party.
  • UberEats looks to be the most common choice for a delivery partner with Amazon Restaurants not far behind.
  • 60–65 percent of owners see delivery as less profitable vs. an in-store transaction.

We’re guessing that restaurants in most states are now using third-party deliver services — or thinking hard about using them (despite the margin squeeze). After all, why let competitors take business from you when clearly customers desire to eat restaurant meals at home or elsewhere outside your venue?

With the industry in the doldrums for a variety of reasons, operators are searching for ways to boost revenue. As NPD Group research report pointed out in December: “Taking advantage of the increasing popularity of delivery will provide restaurant operators with another avenue to drive traffic. The individual restaurant operators will have to determine how best to take advantage of this growth trend.”

We believe that unless you know with certainty that your customers aren’t likely to want your meals delivered to them — along with any new customers you create — then fine, ignore this trend. Otherwise, we suggest trying delivery by first contacting a third-party deliver company and determine the pricing. Then have servers and managers inform customers personally to get their reaction to your service (if you haven’t heard them wondering why they can’t get delivery already).

Sure, you may have good reason to fear sending carefully crafted meals out with a driver you don’t know. But if you don’t do it, we think you run the risk of disappointing customers.

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