Short answer: your direct orders increase immediately and substantially, and you make more money.
For the long answer, read on.
A deal with the devil
For many food businesses, working with a food aggregator or marketplace is like a deal with the devil. In return for ‘new customers’ (as you will see in a moment, I am using those scare quotes for a reason), you give up two things, namely:
• A certain percentage of your revenue, and
• The ability to have and develop a meaningful relationship with your customers
Almost anyone working with these companies is painfully aware of point one so I won’t labour it. Bottom line, you can lose up to 35% of your revenue and almost all of your margin, and in extreme cases you are almost working for nothing.
The importance of the second issue, the customer relationship, is perhaps less well understood. It doesn’t sound like as much of a big deal as giving up 30% of your revenue after all. But ultimately, it is the single step that in time will undermine all your efforts to grow your business and brand - or even just survive.
Specifically, here’s what happens when you join these companies:
• They now own all your customers. You just handed them over. Most of the ‘new’ customers they deliver are your existing customers, who you just directed to Just Eat or Deliveroo - who take their cut and send them back to you!
• You no longer know who your customers are, so you can’t use direct marketing campaigns to talk to them and encourage customer loyalty - just to give one example. Any proactive marketing to build your business and reward your customers is off the table.
• Your brand is now hidden behind another company’s, and worse again it is alongside all of your competitors. Who are now being shown to the customers YOU sent to the app in the first place!
It’s particularly important to emphasise that first bullet in this context. If you are an established food business, these platforms do not bring you new customers. They simply take your existing ones, break apart your relationship with those customers, and charge you for the privilege.
Here’s what happened when DOUGH left Just Eat
It can be scary to leave a food aggregator or marketplace. After all, when you look at the numbers it may appear that you rely on them for a huge percentage of your business.
But remember what we just said. These are YOUR customers! They want to eat YOUR food, and when you leave these aggregators, they will come with you. In fact, recent research suggests that consumers want to order direct, precisely because they understand that it’s better for the food businesses that they love.
So all those orders you think you are giving up are going nowhere. And at the same time you’ll be able to put your brand front and centre and rekindle those customer relationships - two essential ingredients in future growth.
Fine words, but what about the reality? Recently we got to see just what that looked like when Flipdish customer DOUGH said goodbye to Just Eat. If you live in or anywhere near Liverpool in England, you’ll have heard of DOUGH. They were voted the best take-away in the city, and Liverpool is a pretty big place. In other words, they make the kind of food people seek out - and travel for miles to experience.
And guess what? That’s exactly what happened.
DOUGH left Just Eat on 5th February 2021. When they turned off Just Eat they saw direct orders from Flipdish increase 61% across the estate OVERNIGHT, and in one store they almost doubled. Of course they also saw increases in phone and walk-in orders.
They’ve seen their customers return en masse to ordering with them directly. They now collect that customer data. They increase their revenues. And because every time someone orders they experience the DOUGH brand directly, they are positioned to grow that brand through word of mouth.
They discovered that there is nothing but upside in saying goodbye to food aggregators. And in the process, they quite literally got their business back.