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Third Party Food Delivery Apps 101

Updated: Jan 4





Even outside the pandemic, third party apps and delivery food options are expected to continue to grow in profitability. Currently worth $110 billion (2020 Business Wire) and with roughly 29% of Americans ordering online, this growing industry is not something to ignore. So how do we, as food industry professionals, continue to navigate the new market? Let’s learn more.

What are my app options?

The businesses at the forefront are Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash, Caviar, Seamless, GrubHub, ChowNow, Eat24 and the options continue to expand.

What does it cost to work with a third party?

On average the apps take 20%-30% commission on profits. With the outlier of ChowNow who takes 0%. We recommend choosing a few apps to focus your business on and negotiating with them to minimize charges. One way to negotiate is to work out an exclusivity agreement with the app of your choice. This can help keep costs low and consistent.

How do I select menu items for delivery?

We recommend creating a capsule menu that incorporates items most essential to your food brand alongside quick prep or ready-made items. By combining a mixture of classic crowd pleasers and items that will travel well you can streamline your delivery workflow and decrease customer wait times.

What does a user friendly menu look like?

Your main menu should include professional and appealing photos and be clear, simple and consistent across all app platforms. Including an ingredients list in your descriptions can remove barriers, such as customer questions that can deter ordering altogether. Within each menu item we recommend creating click-through break-out options as much as possible so that the customer can select sauces, extra toppings, and exclusions. This limits overuse of the “customer notes” section and keeps all modifications on one line item, which improves prep accuracy and speed.

How do I communicate to customers that I am offering delivery?

Digital marketing can be an effective way to communicate with online customers. Consider an ad spot or paid ads on Instagram and Facebook and utilize the optimization tools to target your geographical or demographic audience. Follow-up can also be an effective tool to get information from customers and improve retention. Consider giving customers the option to opt into text/ email updates on their order and once the order flow is complete follow up with a survey or promotion.

How does a Commissary/ Shared Use Kitchen benefit a third party app model?

Utilizing the Seattle Commissary Kitchen gives you the freedom to focus on your food. We offer hands on administrative staff that help connect you to the food industry as well as take care of the facilities and utilities. Our cleaning and maintenance teams keep equipment and space in top notch shape. The commissary kitchen space eliminates front of house costs which weigh down small businesses and increase labor hours. By keeping your team small and nimble you can focus your energy towards your product. Working in a shared use space also allows you to experiment with targeting busy hours or launch multiple concepts to find the perfect niche. We always say at Seattle Commissary Kitchen that we can do so much more together. We can’t wait to connect you to the resources you need to make your online food business a success.


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