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DonRocks

Online Ordering - 2015 Is The Year It's Going To Really Take Off

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I've noticed a critical point in both the number of restaurants taking online orders, and the methods in which they're doing it, just in the past few months.

For example, it's now possible to order from Hong Kong Palace without picking up the phone - depending on how much you spend, there are freebies you can get with your order: The more you spend, the more you can get. The other evening, I ordered enough to get a free order of Chicken and Broccoli - granted, no great shakes, but hey, it was more than enough for lunch the next day.

This doesn't even consider places like GrubHub, Seamless, and Caviar (which I used with great success on a recent trip to San Francisco, ordering from R&G Lounge in Chinatown - it came right up to my hotel room (the Salt and Pepper Scallops were rocking)).

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I think this concept by David Chang is brilliant:

"David Chang's Startup Is A Restaurant Without A Restaurant" by Issie Lapowsky on wired.com

A fine dining kitchen with no restaurant. Just delivery. Money saved in rent, FF&E, China, Glass, Silver, etc keeps quality high, prices low. Custom made delivery containers for presentation.

This seems to be suited only to densely populated urban areas, but if I could get a dinner of 2941 quality delivered to my house, I might never cook dinner again.

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When I called El Fresco for delivery a few days ago the person who answered seemed to think it was weird that I was calling rather than using the online option. Now that I've viewed their website, I'll definitely be using it going forward.

Tony's Pizza has a good intuitive online ordering system.

Fewer people to interact with! More alienation and isolation for me! I love technology.

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Fewer people to interact with! More alienation and isolation for me! I love technology.

The prototype was the drive-thru window.

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Not long ago a friend forwarded a search phrase to me to search on-->   site:post-gazette.com tucson restaurants

And I did. In google  it took me to this page.  http://www.allmenus.com/az/tucson/   

In Bing the results were completely different   (even though the site: function ostensibly works the same in both search engines).  (the difference between google and bing bring up different questions)

If one scrolls to the very bottom of the allmenus.com page there are links to About, Restaurants, Chains etc.  If you go to the About page it takes you here->http://about.grubhub.com/about-us/our-brands/

In reading about grubhub they have merged with a variety of web ordering entities to become very huge across the US and in London.  They take the orders on line, deliver them to the restaurants, and evidently the restaurants only pay them for the orders they deliver.  It appears the restaurants arrange for their own delivery drivers.

One of my "cheap" quirks is that I almost never order for delivery.  For years and years I'd call in orders and pick up.  (hmmm....I think my ex and I used to get delivery.  Had to have been her--  ;)   )  Oh well.    But anyway I simply don't know much about delivery services.  Its sort of ingrained.  I just don't use them.  The growth of things like grubhub etc has simply passed me by.

Now reading about grubhub and some of the brands they've merged with ....they go back in time...as far back as 1999.  But it does appear they are taking off more recently and have been for several years.  Its probably all about smart phones and apps. 

I go up to what B.A.R wrote 

On 4/30/2015 at 10:31 AM, B.A.R. said:

but if I could get a dinner of 2941 quality delivered to my house, I might never cook dinner again.

Despite my ingrained well developed distaste for delivery....if the dinners had that quality....I also might never cook again   

 

 

 

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Grubhub and Seamless are the same.  I loved the service when I lived in NY and continued to use it when I moved back to DC, but have stopped. Why?  They take a phenomenal amount of the gross order - and the results get prioritized based on what percentage you fork over as the restaurant.  Here's a decent article describing the conundrum that restaurants find themselves in when they consider moving away from them: http://tribecacitizen.com/2016/03/01/why-restaurants-hate-grubhub-seamless/

Happy to see that restaurants are developing their own solutions and that some competitors to Seamless are trying to establish a more symbiotic relationship with the restaurants.  Aden Pizza in Bethesda has an app that's been developed by a software developer that's explicitly targeting Seamless's market by using a flat fee structure.   Would love to hear about how restaurants view the quality/value of this type of competitor.

Also begs the question of when (not if) Opentable moves into this space as well.

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On 8/12/2016 at 4:27 PM, zgast said:

Grubhub and Seamless are the same.  I loved the service when I lived in NY and continued to use it when I moved back to DC, but have stopped. Why?  They take a phenomenal amount of the gross order - and the results get prioritized based on what percentage you fork over as the restaurant.  Here's a decent article describing the conundrum that restaurants find themselves in when they consider moving away from them: http://tribecacitizen.com/2016/03/01/why-restaurants-hate-grubhub-seamless/

Happy to see that restaurants are developing their own solutions and that some competitors to Seamless are trying to establish a more symbiotic relationship with the restaurants.  Aden Pizza in Bethesda has an app that's been developed by a software developer that's explicitly targeting Seamless's market by using a flat fee structure.   Would love to hear about how restaurants view the quality/value of this type of competitor.

Also begs the question of when (not if) Opentable moves into this space as well.

As a business person, and someone cognizant of fees the article in the TribecaCitizen is fascinating.  The comments add context including those by restaurateurs.  Fees of 12.5 to 20% are extraordinarily high.   There are fees on top.  12.5 to 20% fees on every dish would destroy the basic cost structure of a restaurant.  These are fees on the takeout element.  Still its an "advertising cost" and one much higher than most restaurants would ever conceive of paying. 

The fees are similar to what online or internet travel agents charge the travel industry such as hotels and B&B's.  They rip apart the bottom line and force up costs.  The hotel industry fights back once a visitor checks in.  The hotels will take every action to get the visitors direct contact info and get them to switch to their own booking systems and "rewards systems".  That is now an enormous battle.  I'd suggest restaurants do the same. 

Way back in time I never liked delivery.  I knew it added a cost element into the price of restaurant food.  I'd go out of my way to pick up.  Today I'm more resistant to anything like GrubHub/Seamless et al.  Frankly when restaurants fail because their costs are out of line with their revenues...things like this contribute to those problems.

 

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On August 12, 2016 at 4:27 PM, zgast said:

Grubhub and Seamless are the same.  I loved the service when I lived in NY and continued to use it when I moved back to DC, but have stopped. Why?  They take a phenomenal amount of the gross order - and the results get prioritized based on what percentage you fork over as the restaurant.  Here's a decent article describing the conundrum that restaurants find themselves in when they consider moving away from them: http://tribecacitizen.com/2016/03/01/why-restaurants-hate-grubhub-seamless/

And that is my attitude....but I heard the other side of the story earlier today.  A restaurateur called to discuss some Bartending and staffing "stuff". I went to their establishment.  A takeout order came in from one of the above referenced services.  We got into a discussion w/ me asking abt margins.  His perspective:. It's bringing in more business and its "significant" extra.   Let's just say if he had $3k/week before. With these hot web apps now he has $8k/week. (Totally made up #'s but they are bringing in lots more takeout.  I watched the process, the pickup etc.. Brings up interesting additional thoughts.... But this operator currently loves the extra volume.  He sees it as "extra" and it is now.

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Did a Seamless takeout from Kabob Bazaar (Clarendon) last week and, apart from the ridiculously long time it took, Seamless got the order wrong - they gave me regular rice instead of the zeresh polo (rice with saffron and bayberries).  This gave me a chance to see how much the zeresh polo enhances the meal, and the answer is a ton. The meal was disappointingly ordinary without it (though mixing in my usual side dish, noon paneer sabzi -- excellent blocks of feta and walnuts and herbs -- did jazz the food up quite a bit - it's such better feta than you usually get at restaurants).  The chicken and veggies were still cooked well (moist and juicy chicken, nicely charred grilled veggies), but I could see why some people don't find Kabob Bazaar that notable.

Moral of the story: unless you strongly dislike tartness, get your kabob with the zeresh polo! The tart barberries and the saffron flavor make the meal much more delicious. Absolutely worth the extra 3 dollars over plain rice. (And also get their very good pita, either the bread that comes with the noon paneer sabzi, or a separate order of bread. I get an extra order and enjoy it later in the week. And the must-o-kheyar yogurt dip is very very good with the bread. But the main takeaway is the zeresh polo.)

Second moral of the story: I'm done with Seamless. (Maybe DoorDash will do better, or maybe this is going to be a meal we go pick up all of the time instead of some of the time. Delivery options in Courthouse/Clarendon that don't use Seamless seem to be dwindling, but admittedly we haven't tried DoorDash yet.)

Wonder if they are on UberEats?

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Good food can be hard to find, and even harder to get delivered! That’s why we created Bootler - the food delivery app that helps you discover the best food delivery for the best price. If the restaurant offers delivery, it’s on Bootler; we have more offerings than any single food-delivery site. Since we have the largest selection of restaurants of any online delivery service you’ll find what you’re looking for quickly and easily. We just opened up shop in Philadelphia, and would love to help connect everyone to their favorite food. Let us know what you think and happy eating!

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On 6/27/2017 at 4:45 PM, Anthony Alexander said:

Good food can be hard to find, and even harder to get delivered! That’s why we created Bootler - the food delivery app that helps you discover the best food delivery for the best price. If the restaurant offers delivery, it’s on Bootler; we have more offerings than any single food-delivery site. Since we have the largest selection of restaurants of any online delivery service you’ll find what you’re looking for quickly and easily. We just opened up shop in Philadelphia, and would love to help connect everyone to their favorite food. Let us know what you think and happy eating!

Bootler is extending the "meta-index" idea that Matt Drudge popularized in the news world. Those annoying Trivago ads are now doing the same thing with hotels (Tim Williams, their pitchman, actually seems like a nice guy).

One thing that appears to hinder Bootler is that these restaurant delivery services sometimes raise the prices, and unless the user compares directly with the restaurant's own menu, there's no way to know.

We'll know that we've *really* gone meta when we have aggregate-services which compare aggregate-services. 

[I also let Anthony know that he's welcome here, and can keep us updated about Bootler "a couple times a month."]

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On 4/13/2015 at 10:39 AM, DonRocks said:

I've noticed a critical point in both the number of restaurants taking online orders, and the methods in which they're doing it, just in the past few months.

For example, it's now possible to order from Hong Kong Palace without picking up the phone - depending on how much you spend, there are freebies you can get with your order: The more you spend, the more you can get. The other evening, I ordered enough to get a free order of Chicken and Broccoli - granted, no great shakes, but hey, it was more than enough for lunch the next day.

This doesn't even consider places like GrubHub, Seamless, and Caviar (which I used with great success on a recent trip to San Francisco, ordering from R&G Lounge in Chinatown - it came right up to my hotel room (the Salt and Pepper Scallops were rocking)).

And now, two years later, I'm noticing an increase in fees which forebodes the decline and fall of the industry.

For example, doordash.com - for about six months, notably better than grubhub.com - now imposes a 9% "service fee" in addition to an already-expensive $3.99 "delivery charge." This does not include the tip (which they generously state "goes 100% to your driver"). 

I'm almost positive this nine-percent "service fee" is a new cost to consumers, and as far as I'm concerned, prices doordash.com out of the market. For me to order $40 in delivery now costs me $40 + $3.99 (delivery charge) + $3.60 (service fee) + $4.00 (tax) + $8.00 (tip) which comes out to $59.59. See this example with your own eyes:

 Screenshot 2017-06-29 at 6.54.46 PM.png

A 50% surcharge? Maybe if I'm recovering from surgery or something. Until then ... goodbye, doordash.

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Don, thank you for the introduction! We're working on making the whole process as transparent as possible, and we actually have a menu combining algorithm on our roadmap that will let you know when a delivery service is inflating their prices. While we don't think it happens often, it does happen occasionally and it's certainly something for people to consider. 

Talk Soon

-Anthony

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Just trying a little experiment. Got same order for Kabob Palace on Grub Hub and Eat24

Grub Hub -

Food - $70.90, Delivery - $19.75, Tax - $7.09 = Total - $97.74

Eat24

Food - $72.73, Delivery - $6.99, Service Fee - $5.75, Tax - $7.27 = Total - $92.74

So, total is $5 less a Eat24, which is not insignificant. If you count Delivery+Serve at Eat 24 to equal Delivery at Grub Hub (can't get out of the service fee, so it's the same), the delivery is $19.75  at GH vs $12.74 at Eat24. The actual food cost is a little higher at Eat24, about 2.5% higher, so the tax ends up a few cents higher, too.

Questions - if the delivery fee is $19.75, are you really supposed to tip on that? Or, if its, $12.74, are you supposed to tip on that? Eat24 seems to be taking a little off the top on food, and maybe that's why their delivery fee is lower. But, man, these delivery charges are pretty wild. 

And then for the wildcard... I checked UberEats. Food - $70.90, Tax $7.09, $4.99 = Total - $82.98. $10 less than Eat 24, and a whopping $15 less than GrubHub. No contest. 

Uber always seems to win... 

S

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9 minutes ago, Simul Parikh said:

Just trying a little experiment. Got same order for Kabob Palace on Grub Hub and Eat24

Grub Hub -

Food - $70.90, Delivery - $19.75, Tax - $7.09 = Total - $97.74

Eat24

Food - $72.73, Delivery - $6.99, Service Fee - $5.75, Tax - $7.27 = Total - $92.74

So, total is $5 less a Eat24, which is not insignificant. If you count Delivery+Serve at Eat 24 to equal Delivery at Grub Hub (can't get out of the service fee, so it's the same), the delivery is $19.75  at GH vs $12.74 at Eat24. The actual food cost is a little higher at Eat24, about 2.5% higher, so the tax ends up a few cents higher, too.

Questions - if the delivery fee is $19.75, are you really supposed to tip on that? Or, if its, $12.74, are you supposed to tip on that? Eat24 seems to be taking a little off the top on food, and maybe that's why their delivery fee is lower. But, man, these delivery charges are pretty wild. 

And then for the wildcard... I checked UberEats. Food - $70.90, Tax $7.09, $4.99 = Total - $82.98. $10 less than Eat 24, and a whopping $15 less than GrubHub. No contest. 

Uber always seems to win... 

S

Just to add something:  (and I haven't checked this for Kabob Palace but I've checked it at other restaurants and Don has also noted that:   The takeout menus for many/most/possibly all of the takeout places invariably are more expensive than the in house menu (assuming same portion size).  they are also more expensive than if the restaurant has its own delivery.

I was speaking w/ a restaurateur with well over a decade of very high volume delivery.  They have their own, but they also have at least 6 different delivery services.  Overall the delivery services take 20% of the order.  (Customers don't see that.)  Item prices on the takeout places are higher than the restaurant menu and/or direct delivery by the restaurant.

In the case above assuming all the delivery services charge about 20%; they are getting about $14 plus their fees.   Does any of that go to the driver???  I doubt it.  I'd tip the driver because they basically do it for lousy wages.  

From what I've heard some restaurants love delivery.  Even if their margins per order are lower they are doing significantly more volume.  Other restaurants hate this as its cutting their volume.   

And...if you use a delivery service via a search on google for the restaurant by name...and you click on the google "place an order" tab.  Google is taking some of that $$.  probably some of the 20%.   

It all adds up.  Costs go up.  The drivers are really at the bottom of the food(no pun intended)/income chain.  I'd tip them.

 

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On 8/24/2017 at 3:33 PM, DaveO said:

In the case above assuming all the delivery services charge about 20%; they are getting about $14 plus their fees.   Does any of that go to the driver???  I doubt it.  I'd tip the driver because they basically do it for lousy wages.  

In the several instances when I've asked, there hasn't been a single time when the "services charges" or "delivery fees" go to the drivers.

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