GrubHub is Only Part of the Puzzle

Alternatives to GrubHub
Alternatives to GrubHub

The evolution of online ordering for restaurants is in its infancy. Yet, the growth is phenomenal. A few years ago, restaurants didn’t even think about online ordering. Sure, there has been online reservation services such as OpenTable, but online ordering for restaurants was barely discussed.  Fast forward to the present, you have a ton of options.

GrubHub is Only Part of the Puzzle

The first push into online ordering that restaurants dive into is GrubHub. GrubHub is considered a portal, one in which there are hundreds of thousands of customers using one app to place orders with restaurants in their system. From a customer’s perspective, the service is amazing. Easy to use, after a couple clicks, a user and can see and order from small to large restaurants. From the restaurant owner’s perspective, the service has it’s pros and cons.

GrubHub is Amazing At Getting New Customers

Alternatives to GrubHub
Alternatives to GrubHub

If you’re new to online ordering, or you’re a restaurant looking to grow, GrubHub is amazing. Instantly, you’ll get your restaurants in front of many many new eyeballs. While there technically is no up front cost, there’s something worse, ongoing costs! You don’t need to be a hardcore math guy to know ongoing costs that can be eliminated should.

On average, GrubHub takes 20% of your order (which includes credit card processing). 20%. Think about that. If you’re a business that does $5,000 a month in online ordering, $1,000 of that is going to technology.  That’s insanely steep.  GrubHub is a publicly traded company for a reason you know!

Now, for a new business you are willing to try this to bring in the growth. I guarantee you that once those deductions from GrubHub come in, you start asking yourself “Why am I using GrubHub again?”. It’s painful to give 20% or more to any technology service. So what’s a business to do?

Use Your Own Online Ordering Solution

I know what you’re thinking, my own online ordering solution. I have to hire programmers & deal with techies now? Add to that the insane costs I have to pay. No Way. I can barely keep my staff costs under 25% of revenue now I have to add technology costs?!?!?!

Well, this line of thinking would be 100% valid about 3 years. Fast forward to today, the entire restaurant online ordering process has been simplified.  No longer do you have to take any sizable investments into technology. Instead, the online & mobile technology has already been built by several reputable companies. All you’re doing now is paying a service fee to use the technology. That’s it, a simply monthly fee allows you to add online ordering for your business.

By going this route, a whole new slew of marketing opportunities come your way. Did you know that GrubHub does not provide you your customer’s email address? Imagine what you could do with that information? When you’re using your own online ordering system, that information is rightfully yours.

Restaurant Online Ordering – How Much Is It?

Well, this part can get tricky. Some companies give you the solution for free, then charge you a couple dollars per order. If you do less than 75 online orders a month, this is perfect for you. However, if the goal is to grow your online ordering business, this solution is incredibly expensive.

The other option, which is my favorite, is to use a modern system. One in which the provider gives you a tablet and printer for your business. You pay a couple hundred dollars in setup fees (which includes the hardware), then pay a monthly fee averaging around $80-$150/month for unlimited orders. The unlimited part is key.

As you grow, and you will, the last thing you want to do is keep paying ongoing tech fees. That’s eliminated here. Additionally, you have a plethora of marketing options that will increase your repeat orders

There are other technology companies that provide online ordering for restaurants, but you need to be careful.  You’re not looking for a tech company on it’s own. What you ideally what is a company that has a restaurant background that’s build an online ordering solution specific for restaurants.

So Should I or Should I Not Be on GrubHub?

The strength of GrubHub can not be compared. You will 100% get your business in front of a new audience that will at least try your business. The trick however, is to turn that GrubHub customer into using you’re own online ordering platform.  There are multitude of ways of doing this through promos and specials, but that is the key. Let Grubhub take the 20%+ on the first order, but let you keep the report orders without GrubHub’s 20%. Think you can do it? I’m sure before reading this article you didn’t think it was possible, but now that you understand the landscape a bit more, the knowledge should allow you  to navigate the marketing side of the restaurant business.

How Often Should I Update My Menus?

Your menu is your #1 marketing tool, I tell that to everyone. Think about it, if someone has your menu, chances are they are already a customer. Compound this with the fact that repeat orders are cheaper to acquire than new orders, use your menu as a way to communicate with your customers. New promos, new items on the menu, specials, the list goes on and on. Most platforms allow you to easily add your menu items.

What Should My Next Step Be?

Hopefully after reading this and doing additional research, you’ve come to the conclusion that you need a two pronged approach. Use Grubhub to get customers you might never be able to reach IN ADDITION TO having your own online order platform for your restaurant. The second part is critical, I can not stress this enough.

I’m hoping with this blog I can shed some additional light into this enormously growing trend in online ordering for business. Don’t let the technology scare you as some providers have made it very easy for you to use them. Additionally, they provide phone and online support to guide you the entire way. Think of it as you’re own little tech team waiting when you need them, without have to pay them an extra fee!

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