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The Pros and Cons of Offering Restaurant Delivery Services
September 23, 2020
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The Pros and Cons of Offering Restaurant Delivery Services

As a restaurant owner in the U.S., you’re one of over 1 million restaurants nationwide. With this much competition, you must ensure that you keep up with customer demands. In addition to delicious food and a nice interior, customers will also appreciate having the option of restaurant delivery services.

These services are becoming more important to consumers, especially amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past few months, customers are more likely to order restaurant or grocery delivery to promote social distancing and lessen the spread of this virus.

Although offering restaurant delivery services can be beneficial for both your customers and your bottom line, there are also downsides. In this post, we’ll highlight both the pros and cons associated with implementing delivery services at your restaurant.

Should Your Restaurant Offer Delivery Services?

Pro: Increased Sales

An obvious benefit to restauranteurs in offering food delivery is the increased revenue you’ll likely earn. Your restaurant has a limited number of seats, especially right now with COVID-19 capacity restrictions. Due to this, offering delivery services will ensure that you aren’t turning away any hungry customers.

Con: More Expenses

No matter how you look at it, there are costs associated with implementing delivery services. These costs could include buying food containers, hiring drivers, producing special delivery menus, and purchasing delivery vehicles.

In addition, if you decide to sign up for apps like Postmates or Uber Eats, you may have to pay for delivery fees, credit card fees, or membership costs.

If you don’t have the cash flow available to afford these costs, consider applying for a restaurant loan. By having business financing on-hand, you can to start offering delivery services without putting your finances at risk.

Once you launch your delivery services, you’ll hopefully reap the rewards of increased revenues from the additional orders placed. Still, it’s important to remember that adding delivery services could be a big investment. If it isn’t going to increase sales, then it might not be a worthwhile addition.

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Pro: Convenience for Customers

Another reason to implement delivery services is to keep up with restaurant industry trends. The way patrons order takeout has dramatically changed. In the past, their only option was to place an order via phone call.

Today, customers can easily access hundreds of restaurants online in real time and place delivery orders for their favorite dishes. Ordering online is convenient for consumers and minimizes the risks of restaurants getting order details wrong through phone call orders. By offering online delivery, you’ll ensure customer satisfaction!

In addition to the convenience online ordering brings, getting food delivered in general is often preferred by customers. Currently, it offers peace of mind to customers that may not feel safe dining in at restaurants due to COVID-19. If you aren’t offering delivery or curbside pickup, you could miss out on sales from these patrons.

Con: Overworked Employees

A downside to adding restaurant delivery services is that it could slow your kitchen operations down. With additional orders to complete, your staff may struggle to keep up with the increased demand. Of course, you don’t want to disappoint customers with long wait times or worse, receiving mediocre, cold food.

To combat this, you could limit your takeout orders to a shorter menu. Or, you may want to consider hiring additional kitchen staff to prepare delivery orders.

Pro: Ability to Outsource Delivery

If you’re worried about the resources it’ll take to implement food delivery services, there’s a solution. Third-party organizations such as Seamless, Grubhub, and Uber Eats specialize in offering online delivery services for restaurants.

By signing up for these food delivery apps, you’ll gain access to the customers using these services to order food from local restaurants.

Cons: These Services Come with a Cost

As stated earlier, utilizing a third-party platform to manage your online food delivery can be valuable. However, there are downsides that come with using these services.

Outsourcing delivery to a third-party takes away some of your control. For instance, you’ll have less control over meal quality upon arrival and delivery time. Ultimately, customers will associate errors or mishaps with your restaurant, rather than the delivery service.

Conclusion

If you’re considering adding delivery to your list of services, there’s a lot to consider. All food delivery ventures have pros and cons. Due to this, you should examine them before you decide if it’s right for your business.

Does your restaurant offer delivery services? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in September 2020.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].