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How To Win Back Your Restaurant Customers from Third-Party Online Ordering Platforms

Wouldn’t it be great if hungry consumers ordered directly from your restaurant instead of third-party providers like UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub?

Learn how to convert consumers from using third-party ordering providers and instead order from you directly. We’ll cover how to cut out the middleman so you make more money and own your own customer’s journey – adding thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars back into your own business.

This video will cover:

  • How to cut out the online ordering middleman
  • How to improve your customer journey
  • How to get customers to order from you, DIRECTLY


Video Transcript:

David “Rev” Ciancio: Hello everyone and welcome to today’s presentation. How to own your delivery customers the secrets that lead to restaurant success. You can probably read that yourself.

David “Rev” Ciancio: By the end of this webinar. We promise that you will have learned three really important things. Number one, how to perfect your customer’s journey. You’ll also know how to get customers to order from you directly through your native ordering. And you’re going to learn how to get guests to stop from going back, super important.

David “Rev” Ciancio: I help restaurants to raise awareness acquire and retain customers through digital marketing social media and the use of incredible software. My personal magic wand is pizza. If you know me. You know what that means. We’ll get into that a little bit later.

But a lot of people know me as a restaurant and hospitality marketing influencer that’s because I run a couple of Instagram accounts with almost 650,000 followers total we’ll get into that later, too.

I also used to own a bar in New York City. So I know exactly what you guys are going through, although I’ve not been through a pandemic. I did go through Sandy.

But I know exactly how hard it is to brand and market location-based business today. We are here to talk about how you can get more guests to order directly from you and ditch using third-party delivery apps.

Okay, these are three great restaurants, awesome food. Nice people and look what they are doing in each one of these pictures. They’re promoting third party providers. Now my question to you and to them is, do you think Doordash and Uber Eats would go out of their way to promote these businesses? I submit that they would not okay. In fact, they would charge each one of these businesses a premium to be able to advertise to their users. This makes me mad.

David “Rev” Ciancio: We are going to eliminate them from your marketing and from your vocabulary. And you might be thinking, why would these restaurants do this? Why would they be promoting third-party?

David “Rev” Ciancio: Well the truth is, they’re smart enough to know that delivery is important, right delivery is real business right those are real guests ordering real orders.

The key here is to have a system where you can convert those people who order from those third party into ordering from your native system. Okay. And that’s what we’re going to get into today.

Okay, let’s start with a little bit of numbers. Okay, this is according to a study that was released over the summer from Cardlinx. If you don’t know them really interesting card-linked offers check those out.

Prior to July 1. Okay, quick service business was up 12% at the end of June. And fast casual business was up 14% okay and restaurant delivery again at the end of June saw a 23% increase at the end of June. What does that translate to here’s a couple of things you should know, spend with third-party restaurant delivery services is higher than it was at the start of the shutdown. So at the end of the June at the end of June. It was higher than when people first were told to stay home and it is not tapered off, despite the increase in spend from orders placed directly with restaurants. Okay.

It means that third-party is growing, even though people are moving towards native ordering. Okay, here’s another one. Restaurant delivery is up 119% compared to this time last year. Again, this is a couple months ago. Okay, that’s a huge number. More of that as of July 30. In 30 days delivery spend went up to 173% year over year. That is the highest increase so far in 2020 there’s been three months since that gay year to date delivery. This is gigantic consumers have already spent 180 million more on delivery. They spent we, you, me, everybody here has spent 180 million dollars more than we did in all of 2019. Okay. The point here is that delivery business is gigantic. It’s not going away. I’m sure you guys are all like Rev. We get it. We’re on this webinar. Keep going. Let’s do that.

The question is, are these third party delivery service providers are they good or are they evil or the angel of the devil. Why, I would say that that’s entirely up to you. Okay. Now I don’t want these providers to win. I want you to win. Okay, so I’m going to show you on this webinar exactly what you need to do. To get customers to order from you. Instead of using these third party providers.

And it’s important that we get in the right mindset, right, we need to understand how to master our destiny and I have a couple of questions that I want to ask you okay from a 30,000-foot view.

The point here is that the experience of your restaurant brand is something that you are in control of and, furthermore, the experience that you work so hard to create inside your dining room inside your restaurant should be reflected in every single touchpoint that a customer has with you online as well as in store and in bag. You need to own that journey. Your restaurant has two facades okay one is on the street and the other is online and you should put as much care and effort on the branding experience online as you do in-store. The point is to understand that your dining room is also online. Okay, or, as I say, it’s also in bag. Okay.

If you think about it more of your brand experience actually happens online than happens on the store in the bag. Now I’ve done some math here and some research.

I believe that there are 25 plus digital touchpoint for a customer to eat one meal from a restaurant and it doesn’t matter where they came to your restaurant or they order delivery. Okay, I’m going to show you, hey, here’s an example. I’m online. I opened up my friends, Instagram, and they’ve posted a picture of food from a restaurant or a snap of them, you know, doing cheers with some drinks in a restaurant. Now that restaurant is on my radar. So what I do. I’m all interested, I want to go to my friends go i happen to Google and I do a search for that restaurant.

And now your name comes up, or I searched around you and I’m seeing your knowledge card. I’m getting information on your Google My Business profile. So what’s the next thing I do.

I go look at your photos were my friends falsifying a good time, or is it really a good time. This place is the steak that delicious right is the meal that vibrantly colored I’m looking at your photos. Then what do I do, I hop over to Yelp or maybe I’m still in Google and I read your Yelp reviews, because I want to see what other people are saying. Is the experience what I saw my friend snap exactly what’s going to happen, or is it a bunch of one stars that you don’t reply to? And tell me that I know confidence in the customer service you deliver. Well, let’s say they were good. Amen. You’re on here. You’re smart people, what do I do next, I’m now looking at your menu.

And I might be looking at your menu on Google or foursquare or TripAdvisor or your own website. The point is, I’m still inside of an experience, but you don’t even know who I am! Web menu looks good. I’m now in your website. Do I need a reservation, what are your hours of operation?

You know, do you have contactless ordering? What’s your COVID plan? I’m deep down the funnel. Now, what’s the next thing happened. Oh, I do need a reservation. So I use Resy or OpenTable to book a seat to come in and dine with you.

And then what if I’m taking three of my friends with me. Or maybe I’m taking my wife, my kid, and I’m going to share your profile to them like, hey, they were going to eat here. This place looks awesome.

What happens next. I need directions because I’m driving there, right. I’m not getting on a bus or a train in the middle of COVID I’m driving my own car. Or maybe I’m going to take Uber and I need to make sure that your addresses correct an Uber. Now I’m on my way to your restaurant. Okay. And I opened up Instagram to take a look at your food and decide what am I going to order. Am I going to stay with my healthy plans to have a salad and grilled chicken today. I’m not. And I’m looking for your, your cheesiest mac and cheese or the biggest steak, you have or the most awesome was pizza but I’m on your Instagram. Okay, here’s the thing. Now I’m finally in your restaurant. I’ve had how many digital touch points with your brand and you haven’t even seen my face yet.

Now you’re going to tell me because of COVID our menus online and take a picture of a QR code or go to our mobile ordering. Now I’m back inside your brand experience again and I’m on my phone. I’m ordering. Okay then, at the end of the meal. I’m going to pay, and I’m going to do with NFC or my new Apple Pay or contactless payments. This is another digital touchpoint. Hopefully, you’ve collected my email address and you’re going to follow up with me afterwards and send me a survey. How did we do? And then what happens. I’m like, go leave you a review. Holy smokes. Do the math.

That’s 15 does digital touchpoints. Did you take care of your brand and each one of these, are you in control of each one of these points.

The point I’m trying to make here is that you can control the customer journey and all of these places to be on brand with the experience you want to deliver. Okay, how many of these happened in your dining room only two! Only two and we didn’t even cover every single touchpoint I just walked through one customer journey. This is just one version. Now what if I see on my friends post. I see. Again, I see that Snapchat. And I search online and I don’t find your restaurant. I don’t even get past this point. That’s it, you lost me. I couldn’t even find you in Google or Yelp, I get a little passionate about this. Right.

Okay. So let’s say I do find your store. Let’s say that I go to your Google My Business. I find you, but all the photos are absolutely terrible because they’re all user-generated and taken by a grandma who doesn’t know how to operate her iPhone but I didn’t get very far. Did I right you should be putting your brand photos up there. Okay. Let’s look at one more way.

Let’s say that all the things worked out and I order delivery and I order from a third party. But that delivery takes two hours to get to me. It comes in a crappy bag, it’s missing the appetizers I ordered, the drink is spilled the food is like, okay, because the thing that you sent it in isn’t really delivery friendly. It’s like some real rubbery wings or a steak that ended up kept cooking inside the bag right you give me a cheap plastic knife that buckles when I try to cut my food and overall the experience just sucks. Not at all what you would have experienced if I experienced dine in. What happens next. I think you all know. I leave you a one star review and you never respond. By the way, I don’t typically do that. So don’t start hating me. But anyway, the point is, is this guest likely to ever come back in order from you again.

What if during my discovery phase I get the incorrect hours. I can’t figure out how to make a reservation. I can’t find your menu your social media has been updated in a month your photos are just yucky. And you never asked me for feedback do you think I’m looking to eat something with you again, or choose your restaurant another time?
Do you think other customers who’ve never done with you would choose your restaurant over another one. If this is what the scenario looks like.

Okay, hopefully I’ve driven enough fear into you, that you need to take care of all these things because this is the type of housecleaning that has to happen. Before you can convert people from third to first-party, you have to own the experience. Okay. Why is that it’s really important that we realize something. Every one of your customers and likely you has one of these (a phone). And it’s in their hands all the time, even when they’re in your store and outside of your store your customers are on their phone and online and so is your brand.

Okay, now a study conducted by Nielsen. This is important: 95% of smartphone users conduct restaurant searches that my friend Dave Kaplan once said to me if more than 80% of somebody does something and it’s that that’s no longer stat because everybody does it. Okay. Everybody conducts restaurant searches online okay 90% of these users convert within a day. What does that mean if I searched for a restaurant and it’s not here? I’m ready to make a purchase. I have intent. I’m at the bottom of the funnel, I’m ready to go out to eat and 64% that’s two out of three people convert almost immediately or within the hour. If I have searched for best hot wings near me, man. I’m craving. I’m hungry, I’m ready to go. I’m at the bottom of the funnel.

You need to treat that space where your brand lives online as if it was your dining room, you have to apply the same care and branding that you would in store to all of your online presence. Okay everybody, I want you to say it with me: The customer journey starts and ends online. And if you want to acquire more customers and earn more return trips you need to manage every single touchpoint that a customer has with your brand.

Now, you’re like, Rev. How do I know all the places. Boom. I have created for you a customer journey digital touchpoints checklist. These are the 25 or 26 places. I think that you need to own your brand.

You understand what has to happen in your store and online before a customer ever finds their way to you to place an order directly okay in your own ordering. You are now a master of the customer journey. Now get out your pens or notepads okay because it’s about to get hot in here. All right, so how do you do that, how do you stop them from taking from you?

How do you stop them from sucking your blood? Okay, just like vampires. You do not invite them in the door. Okay, but for your customers, you have to open all of the doors. Okay, you have to have the right welcoming that we’re going to get into both these things. Okay, first of all, let’s start with your website. Don’t give your guests the option if they’re on your site. You control the experience at the bottom of the funnel. They’re ready to order. You got to remove all third party links. It makes me bananas when I go to a restaurant website and I see buttons for door dash and seamless and Uber eats and it makes me crazy. You’ve already acquired them. Why are you sending them somewhere else?

You got to make it easy for the guests, right, create a really eye-catching order button. I love this one from Stickies. When you go to their website. It’s like a spinning thing of barbecue sauce. Like how do your eyes not go to that and start clicking ORDER ORDER ORDER. I want chicken fingers. You got to make it obvious that this is the action that they should take. And the last thing people don’t think about this: Link the menu page of your website to your online ordering. Some people will put a PDF up there. That’s a mistake. Some people have what I call a display menu which is just like the list of items. But why, why not just send them right to the online ordering page assume they’re at the bottom of the funnel, assume they’re ready to order, assume that the wallet’s in hand and they’re ready to go. Okay, make your menu actionable make the menu on your website, the menu to order from okay so that’s your website. Let’s talk a little bit more about your menu and let’s talk about what you do on a third party.

This is from a client that I woke up with I work with he woke up one day and he absolutely had it with third party. He knew it was a good channel for acquisition. So he didn’t want to turn it off. But he was done. He was done paying the high prices. He was done not getting access to his customers. So he raised all of his prices on Grubhub. Okay. He also removed a bunch of items. So he limited what you could be putting on there. So we limited the items. Okay, so here’s what I’m saying you should do on third party. Make your prices higher, limit the items that you put on there and be bold. I’m not saying you should take the same moves as Tony and here and put discount codes and all that on Uber, they probably don’t like that. But I talked to him about this. And guess what, in the first week that he did this, he saw 25% lift in his own business. Do you think he will ever let Grubhub win again? He will not, and neither will you.

How do we convert third party orders? So somebody has ordered from Uber eats they’ve ordered from grub hub. How do we get them to order from you, instead staple a postcard on your orders from third party sites or put it inside the bag. Okay, educate them on why ordering direct is better. And I’ve heard some people say they put it inside the bag because they don’t want the Uber driver to rip it off. That makes sense to me. But the point is, put a note in the bag. It could be a letter from the chef. It can be a letter from the owner. It could just be a simple branded card and on that card, you want to make sure that it has your online ordering URL. Maybe a sign-up reward to get them to convert- you were going to pay 30% to Uber anyway. Might as well give somebody a discount to come to you. It’s just the cost of acquisition.

Okay, so you want to make sure that you include anything. And here’s the other thing promote it in-store, somebody comes to your restaurant and dines in, hand them that card. Hey, we have delivery too! Or if they do take away, put that card in the bag. Everybody gets one okay and make sure that you also have table tents. Put it on your table – hey order from us directly snap this QR code get five bucks off. Put it on the bill. Make sure that you promote it in-store as well as in bag. Okay, you got to promote your own digital ordering across your restaurant and every, every place you can.

Let’s talk social media. Now, just like on your website, you cannot let them in, get rid of links to all third party everywhere. It shouldn’t be in your bio. It shouldn’t be in your posts. It shouldn’t be in videos. It shouldn’t be anywhere, get them out. We don’t mention third-party. Only have your link to online ordering in your bio, in your posts, and everywhere now. I love this. If you look at the Jackson Hole one there on the right side of the screen. I love the emojis here draws your attention to it, but they use Bitly if you don’t know a Bitly is that’s a link shortener. They are measuring how many clicks. They get to that link, so they know that they do a post with like, you know, their brand new stack of of waffles for breakfast, and they get a bunch of orders that day, they can see they came through that. That’s a boss move. Okay, here’s the thing: on Instagram putting a link in the post does no good because nobody can click on it, but that’s why you should write: Hey, click the link in bio to order. That’s called the call to action. If it’s a Facebook post, include the link. Don’t just say hey pizzas order for delivery and pickups. Don’t assume they’re going to click over to the order link, put it in the post. Okay, drive the action.

Now let’s talk about social promotion. Okay, you got to promote your online ordering on your social media and I want you to understand something really important here, which is the difference between a soft and a hard call to action or a CTA. You want to make sure that you’re tracking activity. Now here’s what a soft CTA is: let’s say I put a picture of a menu item on a post. It’s a video of your chef putting parmesan on pasta. And it’s wonderful. And I say linguine special this week.

A soft CTA would be at the bottom of that post. Hey, click the link now to see our menu or click the link in our bio to order. Now that’s a soft CTA. The content is about something else. But I’m telling you still helping you complete the action. Where the boss move happens here is focused content that’s about online ordering. So the post could be that same picture of linguine right, that same video, but in the post it doesn’t say try linguine now, it says: Please order from us directly. We have to surrender a ton of our budget to Seamless and it makes it hard to serve you better. Please click the link in our bio and order. Now that’s a hard CTA. The content is about online ordering. Now, how often should you be using these calls to action? One out of every three posts that you are putting on social should talk about online ordering. And the reason I bring up the difference between soft and hard CTAs is not everything has to be a hard CTA, not every third post is a hard CTA. You can have soft CTAs so you could have a picture of chicken wings and talk about the sauces, you make in house. And then at the end, tell people, click the link in bio.

Okay so boss moves: focused content, add the link, use direct links, promote one out of three, and track it with a link shortener so you know where your activities are coming from, right, because you can double down.

Let’s talk about some pro-tips for social media, you got to make sure your contents enticing right engaging and accurate. You want to make sure the path from discovery to ordering is seamless, with no speed bumps or extra steps and completely branded all the way through using strong CTA buttons to make it clear and easy. Make sure that your menu is accurate on sites where customers go to discover restaurants like Google My Business and Facebook and Yelp. You have to control your menus everywhere online, TripAdvisor foursquare. Okay, and last but not least, I have to continue to say this because I’ve seen some of your content. You need quality images, it’s worth the time to either learn how to take great photos, do influencer marketing, or pay a photographer. Quality images drive adoption.

Now let’s talk about Google My Business. This is really, really important. And it’s a step, a lot of restaurants forget about. Just like you’re going to go update the URLs for your ordering on your website and your social media, you have to do the same thing for your listings on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor and Facebook and Foursquare, the most important of which is Google My Business. Now some of these third-party providers, they’ll place ads on your knowledge card. Some may even ask for access to your Google My Business Account. I have seen third-party, say, hey, can we take over your Google My Business Account. Oh my god, don’t do that. You can’t control them, placing ads on it, but you can control giving control to somebody else. Do not give up control of your Google My Business to any third party provider ever. No, no, no. Make sure that you make the updates yourself. And if you’re using software like Marquee or Yext or Singleplatform, go update you’re ordering URLs in there. And if you don’t use those I want you to log into Google My Business today, and update your menu link because Google will put your preferred link in front of everybody else’s.

Alright, cool. Let’s talk about paid social. You want to go install the Facebook pixel on your online ordering pages on either a confirmation button or a thank you page, right. That way you can track all the way to a purchase. If you’re doing advertising and also gives you the ability to target your guests. Let’s say somebody puts a bunch of food in your online ordering cart and then they don’t transact. You can send an ad up to that person that says, “Hey, these french fries and going to eat themselves. You want to come back and order?”

You have to create ads that align to the top of the funnel to gain awareness. Then you want to re-target those people to convert them to a purchase because they already know who you are. Then you do it again and you turn them into a frequent guest. Okay, here’s the other thing: you should stay with your ads and stay in your delivery zone. People make this mistake, all the time. Let’s say you’re in Manhattan: three miles is like you’re in another state. If I’m in Hoboken, I certainly cannot order delivery from the West Village, right?

But three miles out here in the burbs, that’s probably a delivery zone. But the key is you don’t want to advertise too big because the further away they are from your store, the more costly it is. If you’re using LastMile that becomes more expensive. It takes increased driver time but you want to keep your advertising tight, no more than three miles, unless you have a large delivery zone. Got it?

Let’s talk superpowers. This is where we go from good to great, this is where you get your superpowers. The customer experience. Why do people pick up their phone and order from UberEats and Doordash and Grubhub? It’s not because they have a large selection. That’s part of it. But it’s so easy to use in three taps, penne a la vodka is on its way to me for lunch. The point is to create a frictionless easy experience. Upserve’s technology will help you do that and make it easy.

But you want to make sure that the experience is branded right so it feels like they’re still there inside your restaurant, they’re not using some boring terrible looking black and white ordering with no photos. You have to create that branded experience, you want to make it easy. You want to make it easier to use, or as easy to use as Doordash. Because next time if it’s such a pain in the butt to order directly, I’m just gonna use Grubhub because it’s so much easier.

The last thing you want to do some marketing based on segments. You want to segment your guests. What does that mean? Let’s say I only ever order steak from you. It doesn’t really make sense to send me an email about your new vegetarian dish. I’m probably not going to order it. But if you release a new bone in ribeye, you better make sure you email me. If you know your guests actions and you can bucket them into segments. You can market to them in a way that feels like it’s one-on-one.

If I only ever order on Friday nights, we only order pizza on Fridays. There is no need to send me an email on Monday. I’m probably not ordering. But if you send me an email four o’clock on a Friday, you can bet, there’ll be a click to order garlic knots. Segment your guests and market to them. So if you can, one on one. We want to show you some proof in the pudding.

amber van moessner: Alright, so we wanted to highlight some customer case studies. This is an Upsurge customer called Rocks in Chicago in the Lakeview neighborhood. We took a look at their online ordering data. They didn’t start using Upserve online ordering, which is an owned online ordering channel that they run through their website until May. So in April, you can see they were just doing third-party they paid over $10,000 in fees to third-party delivery companies in April. Then you can see once they switch to Upserve online ordering, which runs right off their website in May, they were still doing most of their business third party, but then you can see in June, July, August, it starts to go up. And that’s really every single one of those clicks every single one of those orders. They’re keeping 100% of that revenue in their pocket. They’re not paying commission fees to those third-party providers. So in those four months alone they saved over $20,000 in commission fees that goes directly back to their bottom line.

David “Rev” Ciancio: It’s awesome. What would everybody here do with $20,000, you know, to me, don’t get me started.

amber van moessner: Yeah. So Kenji’s was really early to the owned online ordering trend. They’ve been working with Upserve for years to have their online ordering run through their website. If you check out their website they have a beautiful online ordering menu you can see it right over here. But since January, they brought in over $100,000 in owned commission-free online orders and you can see down here, the breakdown, you were saying it’s 10% owned, 90% third-party is a national average. They’re doing about 60% owned, which is pretty solid.

So as of 2020 60% of their online orders come through their website. And Ken, who’s the owner of Kenji’s, said switching to observe POS and online ordering was one of the best decisions we made for efficiency. If you head over to our website, we have a little story about Ken and Kenji’s, but really it’s just about the efficiency, not having to pick up the phone, not having to write down orders and really being able to keep all that revenue in house with an owned online ordering system.

David “Rev” Ciancio: Awesome. And again, this is proof in the pudding. I want to show you one more. This is a client that I work with Five Napkin Burger in New York City. During Covid-19, 5 Napkin increased their first-party ordering by 200%. Okay. How did they do that? Literally the things that I’m showing you today that you are getting here. They have done every single one of these. They created a 360-degree plan to drive awareness of the first party ordering through marketing, organic social media, paid media, in delivery bag messaging, special promotions. All of that and it doubled the amount of orders coming through their own digital ordering because they took this method. I didn’t just make these slides and it was a good idea. I have tested these, these are the things that work. So the truth here is that third-party can indeed be your best friend. If you can convert guests to using your own ordering system, okay. At that point its simply math. Third-party is simply an acquisition channel and you just know the cost. Okay, if you can get them to order from you instead, repeatedly, you win.

David “Rev” Ciancio: Well, listen, I’m here to help. I love restaurants. I love restaurant operators. I love food and ultimately as somebody who likes to dine at restaurants. I want my experience to be better. So I figure if I teach everybody the experience. I want to have as a consumer, then It’ll come back to me. Make it a great tasty day!

amber vanmoessner: Thanks so much, everyone.

Restaurant Insider