Restaurants: Tips for Integrating Third-Party Delivery

It wasn’t that long ago that the only meal someone could get delivered came from the local Chinese restaurant or in a pizza box.

But now, with all the delivery services at our fingertips, there is no food item that can’t be delivered to your home. This is a convenience that consumers cherish and have come to expect. For the restaurant owner, on the other hand, this reality presents a whole host of challenges.

Food Quality Control

When customers dine at restaurants, they are expecting a certain quality of food—and they anticipate the same level of quality when it comes to delivery. Unfortunately, this is not guaranteed. Food does not always travel well and its taste may not be preserved long after it’s prepared. To help minimize quality discrepancies between in-store and at-home dining, consider the following:

  • Ensure delivery packaging allows the food to breathe
  • Minimize menu items available to be ordered to-go
  • Set restrictions on delivery radiuses

Reconciling the Deposits from Multiple Vendors

Weekly or monthly bank reconciliations from multiple credit card, gift card and house accounts should be a familiar and relatively straightforward task for bookkeepers. However, adding delivery services to the mix can disrupt and complicate the system because each delivery service—whether it’s UberEats, Door Dash, Caviar, etc.—serves as its own revenue stream and has its own set of terms.

For example, each company pays differently—some daily, others monthly. Each takes fees in its own way. Some prefer to charge at the end of a period, others charge transaction by transaction. A best practice for keeping the reconciliations simple is to set up a separate tender on your business’ POS systems for each delivery service. Once you receive those payments, they can be traced seamlessly to the vendor they came from.

Unauthorized Delivery Companies

It is hard enough to control the quality of the food when you prepare it for delivery and send it off with a service you know and authorize. It gets even harder when a restaurant is faced with a service that picks up and delivers food to customers without its consent. Some food delivery companies will set up a website with a restaurant name, logo and menu, and offer delivery. Then, once a delivery order is placed, the imposter company will pick it up and deliver to the customer. This may not immediately sound problematic, but it can become a burden if something goes wrong.

It is difficult to explain to an unhappy customer that your restaurant doesn’t deliver when they just received a delivery from “you.” How can this be handled?

After speaking to clients and industry colleagues, the consensus is that restaurateurs should aim to make the customer happy regardless. Most often, this entails offering a discount or free meal on the next visit. Some companies try to file cease and desist claims, but the food delivery companies can take the link down and replace it later. One suggested approach to combat these companies is to reach out to them and see if there is a way to work together. 

 

By Dana Zukofsky. This article originally appeared in BDO’s Selections Newsletter – Summer 2017. Copywrite 2017 BDO USA, LLP. All rights reserved. www.bdo.com.

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