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Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: +1 888 918 2748

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Buyer's Guide

by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 15, 2017

Restaurant business owners and operators must meet the ever-changing expectations of their customers. The rise of digital and mobile channels has increased consumer demand for food delivery options, prompting the rise of a viable food delivery software market.

Are you enjoying a piece of the restaurant delivery pie? Imagine if your restaurant could do what it does now and also rake in additional revenue from deliveries.

There’s likely one major factor standing between you and this additional revenue stream: a lack of food delivery software. That’s why we’ve developed this buyer’s guide to help restaurant owners and operators get a grasp on the food delivery software market.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Food Delivery Software?
Common Features of Food Delivery Software
Restaurant Delivery Software Deployment Options
Benefits of Implementing a Food Delivery Platform

What Is Food Delivery Software?

Food delivery software enables and supports the delivery of menu items from your restaurant to your customers’ locations. Sure, you could probably get by managing deliveries without any restaurant delivery software. But how many delivery drivers do you think you could manage with pen, paper and maybe an Excel spreadsheet?

Food delivery software automates much of the delivery management process, including:

  • Processing delivery orders
  • Assigning deliveries to drivers
  • Capturing delivery order payments

Food delivery platforms also record and analyze delivery order data for reporting. This provides operational insight which helps you make informed decisions about your delivery business and determine the resources necessary for its success.

Restaurant delivery software provides improved experiences for delivery customers, drivers, kitchen staff and management. The following list of common features explains how it does this.

Common Features of Restaurant POS Systems and Food Delivery Software

For the most part, food delivery software offers customer-facing, back office and driver-facing capabilities, including:

Online menu Features restaurant food items on a website for customers to review. Can be easily and frequently updated for specials and other necessary modifications.
Online ordering Enables orders to be input and sent to the kitchen for preparation. Orders can be entered either by a server at a POS station or by a customer using online ordering.
Kitchen management Notifies kitchen by printed ticket or digital screen when new orders come in. Kitchen can track menu item counts and notify front-of-house staff if certain items are running low.
Driver routing Directs drivers to customer locations to complete the delivery order. Most systems account for traffic and offer optimized routes based on customizable settings.
Delivery team management Gives managers insight and transparency into the whereabouts and upcoming delivery locations of all delivery drivers.
Delivery zone management Allows users to set and adjust the area in which they deliver. This can include multiple zones with increasing delivery fees based on distance from restaurant.

In addition to these food delivery management capabilities, fully functional restaurant point of sale (POS) systems typically offer these main features:

Mobile POS Growing use of tablets in the consumer space has driven down POS prices, making it realistic for restaurants to equip servers with tablets for taking orders and processing payments anywhere in the restaurant.
Inventory management Restaurant inventory rotates every day and many items are highly perishable. A sufficient tracking system is required to manage food spoilage and deal with vendor deliveries and relationships.
Customer relationship management (CRM) Customer contact information and order histories are highly valuable data for all restaurants in order to build repeat business. CRM capabilities help restaurants gather, store and act on this valuable information.
Employee management Restaurant employees require clock-in/clock-out capabilities to record their hours. Digital scheduling and trading shifts is also a necessary function, and there are tax implications for servers, who must report income from tips.
Food costing Food costing features manage the value of the combined ingredients into a succinct menu item. Food costing capabilities enable restaurant operators to set appropriate costs that balance margins with reasonable prices.

Restaurant Delivery Software Deployment Options

Here’s a detailed look at the three main restaurant delivery software options available to your business:

Restaurant POS system with food delivery functionality. Many restaurant POS systems offer integrated online ordering and food delivery capabilities. (You may not know this, if your restaurant falls into the 63 percent that aren’t currently using a POS system. If so, you should be exploring formal restaurant management systems instead.)

Stand-alone food delivery software. If you already have a POS system and only need to add delivery capabilities, there are specialized software options targeted solely toward restaurant deliveries.

As an alternative to these specialized software options, many restaurants are opting to surrender their delivery business to third-party online delivery platforms.

Third-party food delivery platforms. Over the past decade, third-party platforms have flooded the online ordering and food delivery space. We’ve written about the potentially egregious and inflated cost of partnering with online restaurant ordering systems such as GrubHub, Eat24 and others.

The decision boils down to either paying these food delivery platforms a percentage of every order (and even a service subscription fee) or purchasing and implementing your own food delivery software and hiring drivers.

While each has their own advantages depending on your specific needs, we’d strongly recommend building your food delivery platform out of a formal restaurant POS system. Such an integrated system will simplify management tasks such as reporting and analysis.

Benefits of Implementing a Food Delivery Platform

The benefits of implementing a food delivery platform mostly depend on your current software usage and which delivery platform option you choose.

For restaurants that already have an established POS system. Adding a food delivery system will bring you the benefits of having a systematic approach to your delivery business. Rather than managing delivery orders on an ad hoc basis, formal food delivery software will provide increased visibility into the status of your delivery orders. You’ll be able to track the order from the time of entry through preparation and driver pickup and delivery.

For restaurants without a POS system. You’ll benefit from the added delivery business mentioned above, but your overall restaurant business will also be elevated by automations, improved processes and increased visibility. With a proper implementation, you’ll see immediate returns from improved order accuracy, more efficient employee communications and detailed reporting and analysis.

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