Getting Restaurants to Your Food Delivery Business: A Lesson from Delivery Hero

Not so long ago, we discussed three types of on-demand food delivery platforms: delivery service aggregators, new delivery services, and full-stack on-demand delivery platforms. While full-stack platforms rely on their own resources when it comes to supplying food, the other two types depend entirely on third-party suppliers, namely restaurants. Here comes the question: How can you encourage restaurants to collaborate with your on-demand food delivery platform?

“We can bring 100 times more orders to your restaurant business,” an order aggregator may say. “We can provide freelance delivery drivers so you won’t need to deliver on your own,” a new food delivery player may chime in. “So what?” might answer a restaurant with hundreds of thousands of monthly orders and its own fleet of delivery vans.

There’s something these food delivery startups are definitely missing. Today, we’ll talk about yet another incentive that order aggregators and food delivery platforms may use to encourage restaurants to cooperate with them.

Incentives Delivery Hero offers to its partner restaurants

Born in Berlin, Germany, Delivery Hero is a global restaurant delivery service that has an online order aggregation platform at its core. According to its founder, Niklas Östberg, the Delivery Hero platform is a winning solution for both users and restaurants. “Users are attracted to the platform because it helps them identify which restaurants are available and which ones are good,” says Östberg. “It’s also convenient because they [users] can pay online, review past orders, and chart their savings.” The platform is beneficial for restaurants as well because it brings more business to them and increases their orders. Even though Delivery Hero charges their partners a fee for fulfilling orders through the platform, restaurants still want to cooperate.

Delivery Hero’s main competitors are Just Eat (serving Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania), Deliveroo (serving Europe, Australia, and Asia), GrubHub (serving the UK and the US), and Takeaway.com (serving Central Europe and Asia), each of which has a very similar business model to the one used by Delivery Hero.

foodora screenshots

[Foodora – Delivery Hero's subsidiary company in Canada]

None of these, however, can compare to the German-born food delivery service in terms of scale: As of today, Delivery Hero operates in more than 50 countries around Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, and cooperates with more than 300,000 restaurants. Each month, the company processes around 20 million takeout orders worldwide. According to McKinsey, Delivery Hero’s valuation was $3 billion in 2016, which made the company one of about 170 unicorns – startups with valuations of more than $1 billion.  

So what made Delivery Hero such a successful startup and such a tempting piece of pie for partner restaurants? The answer lies in a very special incentive that Delivery Hero offers to restaurant businesses it wants to hook in…

In the summer of 2014, Delivery Hero announced the acquisition of 9Cookies, a Berlin-based company that is famous for its point-of-sales apps for restaurants and delivery services. Today, the company operates as a subsidiary of the Delivery Hero Holding. With this acquisition, Delivery Hero attempted to show that it’s committed to investing in innovative technologies (and very successfully, I should say).

Since 2014, Delivery Hero has been providing its partner restaurants with an additional option, a POS and delivery management solution that helps restaurants effectively manage their most important duties, such as deliveries, customer orders, and staff. On the other side of the coin, this system is a source of useful statistics for Delivery Hero. Let’s find out how to build a 9Cookies-like restaurant manager.

How to develop a point-of-sale and delivery management system

9Cookies provides an easy-to-use iPad based point-of-sale system that allows restaurants to manage their space, accept and place orders, administer tables and deliveries, keep records of sales and deliveries, and so on. Let’s see how all of this is implemented in the application.

  • Creating rooms, courses, and items

Any restaurant management system needs to let you model and manage rooms. In the 9Cookies app, you can create miniature models of your restaurant rooms with all the furnishings – tables, room dividers, etc. Users can set up tables just by dragging and dropping them from the panel, can choose from a variety of floor surfaces that suit your restaurant, and can scale and move objects and delete them if necessary.  

The next step is to create your restaurant’s menu. In 9Cookies, your menu is divided into courses: starters, drinks, main dishes, desserts, and others. These courses, in turn, are divided into item groups. Each group corresponds to the categories of dishes you serve at your restaurant, such as salads, pastas, and pizzas. Once you create groups, you can stuff them with actual items (dishes) as they appear on your ordinary menu. You can also set up different modifiers based on customer preferences, such as extra flavors or ingredients. All this stuff will be helpful when you accept orders from a food delivery platform or from in-restaurant visitors.

9cookies screenshots

  • Accepting orders placed via Delivery Hero

9Cookies integrates tightly with Delivery Hero, so restaurant managers are instantly notified about new orders placed via the Delivery Hero platform. After you get a new delivery, you can either accept or reject it. Once you accept a new delivery request, you can view order details: items ordered, total due, customer name and address, and preferred payment method. You can then select an expected delivery time and assign this delivery to one of your drivers.

To assign an order, you need to choose a driver from a pre-set database. You can check the number of orders assigned to a certain driver, shown next to their name, so you can see a driver’s workload. Once a delivery is assigned to a driver, you can watch their movements live on your iPad, which is possible thanks to a GPS tracking feature. The app also allows you to settle payments with a driver either after each delivery or at the end of the day.

You must be wondering how a driver is supposed to find out about an order they have to deliver. Well, 9Cookies provides a driver mobile app for iOS and Android – as an integral part of the 9Cookies Live Tracking system – that allows drivers to accept newly assigned deliveries, view customer information to get in touch with customers if needed, and trigger turn-by-turn navigation.

delivery hero driver app screenshot

[Driver App – Delivery Hero]

And, of course, you’ll need to build a private API to provide this kind of cooperation among your platform blocks – the order aggregation platform, your POS system, and the driver app. Building such an API will be also required if you’re planning to integrate your system with your other custom built applications, such as you own, in-house task manager or an account system.

  • Accepting orders from in-restaurant visitors

When it comes to serving in-restaurant visitors, you can place orders using 9Cookies as well. To place an order, you just need to tap on a table and then choose the meals ordered by a client from your digital menu. Using the modifiers mentioned above, you can specify customer orders by entering additional options. There are also notes to keep special customer requests in mind – to slice their pizza or serve their Fanta without ice, for example.

  • Reporting

The 9Cookies system also provides powerful reporting functionality. It’s a source of valuable insights for your restaurant business. For example, you can find out which dishes are selling best at what times and which dishes were sold most frequently; you can also see your turnover in a chosen period and get full information on your in-house orders and deliveries. Using this information, not only will you be able to see how your business is doing, but you will also be able to design effective marketing strategies that can help you gain even more business.

9cookies screenshots

Some features to add

Nevertheless, these aren’t the only features you can stuff your system with. Here are a couple of ideas to consider when thinking about developing your own restaurant management system.

  • Self-service kiosk

Of course, 9Cookies is not the only great restaurant management solution on the market. There are a number of effective tools to draw inspiration from when it comes to building point of sale systems. Revel is one of them.

One of the coolest features offered by Revel is a self-service kiosk. Thanks to this feature, you can enhance your visitors’ experience since they don’t have to stay in endless lines anymore; all they need to do is tap, order, grab their food at the counter and go. Your customers also benefit from automatic menu updates, accurate nutrition information, on-screen promos, and instantly printed receipts.

A self-service kiosk may be beneficial for you as well, since it can reduce order-taking staff while serving more customers.

  • Staff management

You can also use swipe cards and login pins to get better control over your restaurant employees. With swipe cards and login pins, employees can clock in and out of the system and access certain features. Thanks to this staff management feature, you can track employee time, set wages, track overtime, and export these data to your chosen accounting software. With this data on hand, you can see who performs best and makes you the most profit.

  • Ingredient inventory

Thanks to the ingredient inventory feature, it’s possible to monitor ingredients in real time so you’ll know what to reorder and when. The Revel iPad system can update inventory count for its users and send alerts when a restaurant is running out of some ingredients. Moveover, you can manage ingredient purchases right from the management console.  

  • CRM integration and loyalty programs

With customer relationship management, you can get vital customer data and keep track of customer buying behaviours and preferences. Using CRM reports, wise entrepreneurs can analyze each customer’s order history to design effective loyalty programs catering to customers’ needs.

You can go even further and integrate your POS system with existing email marketing tools, just like Cin7 did. The Cin7 inventory management and POS system announced its integration with MailChimp in 2016. Cin7 users can now sync and conveniently back up all necessary client contact data to MailChimp without any data entry duplication. Such a move may be helpful if you use email as part of your marketing strategy.

Providing supplementary software like a restaurant manager to partner restaurants is actually becoming a new trend, and many companies (even the famous ones) are trying to follow in Delivery Hero's footsteps. UberEATS, for example, has recently launched its Restaurant Manager. It won't be hard to guess that the application is aimed to help restaurants with managing their day-by-day operations, dispatching orders made via the UberEATS food order app, and also getting insights about their service quality and customer satisfaction. Being a logical continuation of the UberEATS food ordering and delivery platform, the app is now available to all restaurants that are already partnering with the food delivery giant.

With the tips given here, you can now start working on your own restaurant manager app. You decide whether to mix and match the above-mentioned features or flavor the system with your own.​​

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