A couple of years ago I wasn’t the biggest fan of third-party delivery. Last year, I kind of teetered in the middle. These days, it’s just a part of the business. Whether you’re a fan or not, I suggest you grasp onto third-party delivery services and run! But before you start, you need to know a few proven tricks that will help you land at the top of their search results.
Before we get started, these tips are not for those of you still fighting the 25-30% commission rates and wondering if third-party delivery services are worth the price. These tips are for restaurants who want to adopt these services, or are currently using them, and want to ensure your restaurant is a top result when people are searching in third-party apps.
HOW TO INCREASE SALES WITH THIRD-PARTY DELIVERY APPS
Over the last six months, I have developed this method from working with my restaurant clients to get the best possible results with their third-party apps. These strategies were used to get more orders, get to the top of searches, and make sure you’re getting the most out of these apps that you can!
This sounds pretty obvious but your restaurant must be set up with the correct categories. It’s a balance between being too specific but also not too broad. For example, if you operate a pizza restaurant, pizza should be your number one category. You could also have categories for Italian, Pasta, American or Italian American; it depends on what you offer. I work with a client who operates an Egyptian restaurant. In the United States, however, very few people are searching for Egyptian food. Instead, they’re searching for Middle-Eastern or Mediterranean food. When we changed his main category from Egyptian to Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean, we instantly saw an uptick in the number of orders he was getting. Don’t get too carried away though…your categories should accurately represent your restaurant. Your meal periods also need to be accurate: breakfast, lunch, dinner, late-night, etc. Every third-party delivery app/website is slightly different, but we have found this is the absolute most important thing that you can do to increase your orders.
2. Pay-for-Play works.
If you pay for advertising, offer coupons for free delivery or any sort of Pay-for-Play treatment, you will move up closer to the top.
3. Reviews matter.
Nothing will move the needle more than the first two than reviews – lots and lots of reviews. Because of this you need to create a process for getting reviews. Some delivery companies give you customer information and allow you to follow up with them, but most of them don’t so it’s up to you to do something. Follow the KISS principles (Keep It Short and Simple) to increase the likelihood of a customer filling out a review. We have found that postcards work well by providing a QR code that leads back to the review site.
4. Names are important.
I coach a breakfast restaurant that has 10 different omelets all with different names on his menu. On the third-party app he had them listed by name, Denver, California, etc. When we changed the name of each item to Denver Omelet, California Omelet, etc. his orders increased. This same principle applies to sandwiches, wraps, bowls, pasta, pizza, etc. It is imperative to make sure that the major category is listed in the description of each item.
5. Get on the phone.
It’s important to establish a great relationship with your vendors. This doesn’t mean getting on the phone and yelling at them about the 30% commission rate – they hear that all day long. Instead, say something like, “Hey, I’ve done a lot to make my listings better: fixed the SEO, put better pictures on, etc. I am loving the relationship that we have created and I want to do more business with you. I believe that you’re the future! I’m redesigning my restaurant to be more efficient for deliveries and take out orders. I’ve updated my menu and the menu on your site…how can we do more work together?” You will be SHOCKED at some of the responses and deals they are willing to make when you show them you are on their team and excited about your future relationship.
When you approach your relationship with third-party delivery companies from that standpoint, it’s amazing the information they will share with you. They might not be able to give you free advertising, but they might have a discount they can extend. Sometimes, they can offer a one-week trial with free delivery and then provide metrics from the trial. These companies have an enormous amount of data and know what people are searching for and what words they’re using to search. Maybe they’re searching for spaghetti instead of pasta, by making that change on your website/menu you will see a huge impact on sales.
The key to increasing your ranking on third-party apps is understanding what language your customers are using to find you and then speaking their language. When you do that, your third-party delivery sales will soar!
Ryan Gromfin is an author, speaker, chef, restauranteur, and founder of therestaurantboss.com, clickbacon.com, and scalemyrestaurant.com. He is the most followed restaurant coach in the world helping Restaurant Owners and Operators increase profits, improve operations, and scale and grow their businesses.