Third-Party Delivery Service Management in the Age of COVID-19 – and Beyond

While takeout and delivery revenue has more than tripled since 2014, reaching over $300B+ in 2019, demand for delivery services has skyrocketed as businesses shift to takeout and delivery-only models in response to COVID-19.

In fact, delivery is 300 times more popular than before social distancing measures came into effect, per Yelp’s Coronavirus Economic Impact Report.

As third-party delivery services become a primary revenue stream for restaurants, efficiently managing the influx in delivery orders becomes the key to success. However, for those who previously weren’t focused on delivery and lacked a third-party delivery strategy, there can be a steep learning curve.

Some may be navigating common challenges of managing deliveries for the first time, such as the need to monitor multiple tablets for different services. Others may find the processes they had in place are being overloaded with orders, as team members scramble to relay third-party delivery orders to the kitchen staff manually.

On the opposite end, restaurants that already had efficient systems in place were able to quickly shift to takeout and delivery-only models. These quick pivots kept many restaurants from losing out on revenue from the surge in third-party delivery orders, a win for restaurants struggling to maintain profit margins.

“I know other restaurants are scrambling to try to set up services like DoorDash and UberEats. Restaurants are only now experiencing the difficulty of testing systems with multiple tablets for different delivery services that we went through before establishing our system with Your Fare,” said Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria Director of Operations John Killom. “When this crisis happened, we felt two steps ahead.”

What to Look For in a Third-Party Management System

For those still figuring out how to manage third-party delivery services, investing in an efficient, easy-to-use system will allow their business to do more than just survive.

Specifically, restaurants should look to employ a management system that integrates directly with an existing POS system. This dramatically reduces the risk of error when manually inputting orders, ensuring that customer orders are accurate.

Not to mention that eliminating the manual input step allows the kitchen to begin working on orders more quickly. This integration helps ensure a speedy delivery, which is essential as customers expect to wait less than 40 minutes on average.

Accurate, speedy orders are key to customer satisfaction, keeping people coming back during this time of crisis – and long after.

Since third-party delivery services typically have a fee per order, it’s also beneficial to find a system that isn’t taking a cut per delivery. 

The Post-COVID-19 Value

Instating a new and improved third-party delivery strategy likely seems appealing now, but it will also be more valuable than ever in the long term.

Consulting company McKinsey predicts that consumers will continue to spend more after the pandemic than they did before, particularly through the end of the year as health concerns linger.

Many consumers also became first-time users of delivery services during this crisis. With so many new consumers realizing the ease and reliability of ordering through third-party delivery services, restaurants can expect to capture delivery sales from more audiences than ever, particularly among older generations.

The bottom line? As restaurants fight to keep revenue up in today’s crisis, there’s no time for a weak or inefficient third-party delivery strategy. Developing an efficient, integrated management system will keep profits coming in, while ensuring the company is set up for success as dining rooms reopen.