As a customer, you walk into a restaurant, a smiling face greets you at the host stand.
You are quickly seated and your waiter is there, ready to take your drink order.
As you’re sitting inside this restaurant, you notice the beautiful light fixtures and nice paintings, and the ambiance is cool and collected. You can immediately recognize the branding.
Now compare that to …
You are getting hangry on a Thursday night–no one wants to cook, but no one wants to sit in a restaurant either. It’s decided you’ll take the 3rd-party option.
Someone hops on an app, gets the food ordered and in 45 minutes there is food at the door.
However, when you open the bags of food, you realize that you’re missing an entree and two sides.
Fed up at this point, you take it out on Yelp and leave a bad review where no manager from that restaurant will see it or connect it with other similar bad experiences to fix the root issue. Begungenly you eat and decide to never go to or order from that restaurant again.
What do we learn?
As a restaurant owner or manager this is the worst case scenario, right?
Well, it happens more often than we’d like to think. As mentioned in our last post, a lack of coherency between the location and the doorstep is asking for mistakes.
There are lots of reasons people have a bad experience with 3rd-parties. Even if there isn’t a visible sign of tampering with food, customers are genuinely distrustful.
No surprise since it was found that almost 30% of 3rd-party delivery drivers are picking at and snacking on the food they are accountable for delivering! Let that sink in next time you are eating those fries on the top of your bag.
It isn’t only about less trust, but it is about less connection with the brand.
With 3rd-party deliveries, consumers don’t get that brand experience of sitting in the restaurant with a cool and collected ambience, they just get a chaotic waiting period at home, entertaining the kids until finally being handed a bag missing half their items. The experience has left your dinning room and is now happening in their living room. But you need to make it really feel like your brand still.
So how do you make sure that trust is upheld and you have the connection with your customer in a 3rd-party experience?
By taking control.
They are YOUR customers and you should control the experience, the feedback, the resolution, and yes, even the data to get them to order directly from you next time–bye bye 30% commissions.
There is no perfect way to handle 3rd-party deliveries, but there are wrong ways.
Giving the 3rd-parties all of the control is that wrong way.
Don’t agree? Just ask Toys R Us about how good of an idea it was to outsource their shipping, delivery, and customer experience to Amazon.
Sure, 3rd-party is one of those “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” pieces of life as a restaurant owner, especially in the age of a pandemic! However, there are innovative and easy-to-use technologies and softwares that can help make the process simple.
To illustrate… If I am dining with a restaurant outside on a street-side table, it’s not like I am going to flag down a stranger as they pass by (aka the 3rd-party), to tell the manager that my burger was undercooked. Nor is the manager going to grab someone off the street to see how their meal was.
So ask yourself how do we, as a brand, reach our 3rd-party customers to ensure they have a good experience? How do we intercept the negative reviews they’d be tempted to leave online if things went awry?
We have a few solutions for you:
1.) Use your own online ordering system. One that is extremely user friendly and compatible to view on laptops, desktops, iPads, and phones.
Think about how much you pay in commissions to the 3rd-party delivery platforms. It was reported that many company’s commission fees can be as high as 30%. What if you were to eliminate that cost and have people only ordering through your direct online platform?! Need some ideas?
2.) Incentivize your customers to make the switch from 3rd to 1st party.
Using something like a bag stuffer will grab your customers’ attention, there could be an offer on it, something like “$5 off your next order, scan this QR code.”
The code immediately takes them to YOUR online ordering platform where the coupon can only be redeemed in that form, not through 3rd-party.
To see how you can own your guest experience with ghost kitchens and win your customers back to 1st party, let’s chat.
3.) Use the EASY BUTTON…Ovation.
Ovation will automatically ask your guests about their experience and get happy people to leave reviews and everyone else to give you private feedback–no matter if they order through 3rd-party, 1-st party, or in-store. Then, you can filter out the people who ordered from 3rd-party and get them to automatically order right from you next time. Easy.