These days it seems every week brings new restrictions and challenges for food businesses all over the world. We know just how tough many are finding it: at Flipdish we see this every day and we’ve worked with hundreds of customers to help them overcome the challenges associated with the pandemic.
The good news is that there are ways to secure revenue even in near-total lockdown situations. Implemented in a timely and effective manner, they can be the difference that means survival - and in turn growth in the post-pandemic world. So here’s a couple of things you can do - now - to secure the future of your business.
Click and Collect
First and most obvious, set up a click and collect service. This should be your first step. There is no delivery to worry about, so there is nothing stopping almost any food business doing this immediately.
Just in case there’s any confusion - click and collect is a service through which your customers order online (or on the phone for that matter) and then collect their food in person. As such, it is the nearest thing to eating in person there is and hence pretty straightforward to put into practice: all you are really doing is taking the food to a customer at the door for a socially distanced handover, rather than to a table.
It is very, very easy to set up a click and collect service. With Flipdish, all you need to do is say ‘yes’. We’ll set up the menu, the site and the app, we’ll provide you with a terminal that tells your kitchen when orders are coming in, and our Flipdish Managed Marketing team can even help you spread the news that you are open for business.
Then in terms of operation, as above, almost nothing changes. There’s no reason not to make click and collect happen right now. And as Flipdish charges no fixed fee, you have nothing to lose either.
When you’re happy that click and collect is running smoothly, you can add delivery to your offering.
You don’t need to employ drivers, and nor do you need to hand over control of your business to aggregators (see below). Flipdish works with a number of partners to automatically manage delivery, so for your business it’s as if everything was handled without you having to even think about it.
When an order for delivery comes in, we inform both your kitchen and your chosen delivery partner. When the food is ready, a driver will be there to pick it up and take it to a happy customer. It really is that simple - and again, no flat charges apply.
Of course if you WANT to employ drivers you can. But this short piece is about getting food businesses up and running fast with click and collect and delivery.
And on that subject, there is one more thing to say.
Avoid The Aggregators And Marketplaces
We understand that in difficult times many businesses will go looking for any help they can get. That’s entirely understandable.
But if that help comes from food aggregators and marketplaces, you really are better off without it.
I don’t have space here to list every reason why getting into bed with these organisations is a bad idea, but here’s a short list of the major issues that spring to mind:
• They take a significant percentage of your revenue. In some cases this can be up to or even over 30% - a number that leaves your business struggling to make any profit at all. And that percentage is not something you control. Once the marketplace owns the customer relationship (see below), they can and will change that number - and there will be little you can do.
• They insert themselves between your business and the customer. Ultimately, if a customer has a relationship with (for example) Just Eat, they don’t have a relationship with you. That might not mean much in the short term, but in the medium term and beyond it means everything. Without the ability to know and communicate with your customers, you have no way to build your business into the future and no way to develop your brand. You are hidden forever behind someone else’s.
• They steal your customers. If you send your existing customer base to an aggregator to order from you, guess what happens? That’s right, they show alternative options to them - sometimes businesses that pay them money to be ‘promoted’ in the app. The net result is that your own customers are being taken from you - and your business suffers as a result.
There is so much more I could say on this topic - but it has all been said before elsewhere on this blog! The bottom line is this: stand on your own two feet from the start. Setting up click and collect is straightforward, and requires little change in your business model. There’s nothing stopping you.