How 3rd Party Delivery Apps Hurt Restaurants and Customers
We live in a whole new world of convenience. Everything is available at your fingertips, for any wild little thing, 'There's an app for that!' It used to be that when it came to getting food from a restaurant you had to either dine-in, take out, or do delivery but now with the explosion of third-party delivery apps, your Ubers, your Postmates, your Doordashes, your Grubhubs – you can get someone to bring you a meal from just about anywhere.
Here's the problem.
Those apps aren't free. And in many cases, they hurt the business just as much as they can hurt the customer! This is nothing new. Plenty of people have reported on this including the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, and more.
Here's what it boils down to.
Third-party delivery platforms are everywhere and with their apps downloaded straight to users' phones it represents a huge market of customers. They're easy to use and it makes it simple for customers to order whatever they want from one single app on their phone. We get it, there's a reason they are everywhere. But that success also means restaurants have to be on them, have to use them so they can compete with other restaurants. With that perceived need the third-party apps have all the leverage they could want to charge whatever they want. 'Perceived' because it's not necessary, not really. Restaurants like Streets of New York still have our own phone numbers, we have our online ordering, customers can still order directly from us! There's no negotiating with these Silicon Valley tech apps. They say, "To use SuperFoodHub you have to pay $5 per order," and the restaurant just has to accept it.
In that New York Times article linked above, the third-party apps were taking 40% from the average order! 40%!
So do restaurants take that hit? It depends if they can afford to or not. For many restaurants, that just isn't feasible so what happens? All of a sudden a meal that costs $10 from the restaurant directly will cost $12.95 on the app. Or there's a flat extra charge. All of a sudden, customers are paying more for the same thing, just so they can have the convenience of ordering through one of those third-party delivery services.
And there's another reason they may not be the best choice for the customer. When it leaves the restaurant and enters the third-party driver's hands… then what? Sure most of the time they end up where they are supposed to be, right at your door but what if you have a problem? You can't call the restaurant and tell them your order never arrived – now it's Grubhub or UberEats problem. So you take it up with them – then what?
What about hygiene? While the light at the end of the tunnel may be in sight, we're still dealing with the effects of a global pandemic. There's a reason restaurants and fast-food franchises have started creating new packaging, boxes, bags, and stickers to seal shut the items so that you, the customer, can trust that the food hasn't been handled since it was safely prepared in the kitchen. Those seals are needed when they go through a third party's hands to ensure that the customer is receiving safe food exactly as they expect it, and that new packaging isn't free. The cost for those new packaging necessities weigh on the restaurant too!
In some cases, it may be necessary to use a third-party delivery app. Maybe the restaurant in question doesn't offer delivery, or you can't drive to pick it up. But for restaurants like Streets of New York, who offer their own delivery services - there's no reason to order through a third party! It just adds time, cost, and risk to any given order.
If you want to eat and support local, you call your restaurant directly, or use their online ordering systems to get your food straight from them! It'll save you money, save you time, and help your local restaurant to survive!