What do restaurant operators need to consider when devising pricing structures for delivery offers?

Operators should look for a delivery partner who shares their values and enhances their offer. The provider should act as an extension to a business to reach more customers at different times of day or consumers who might not have considered the operator if they hadn’t noticed them online at the right time.

The key is to ensure the chosen delivery partner has access to the consumers the operator wants to target. Restaurants need to know the typical demographic of the delivery channel’s audience. Are they more upscale purchasers or are they value-driven? A premium brand might not want to partner with a delivery provider known for value and discounting if that doesn’t fit with their brand message and pricing structure.

Operators should consider as many strategies as they can to reach the right consumer. Dynamic, or ‘surge’ pricing is one such tactic and one which lends itself well to the online delivery format, where operators can raise or lower prices according to demand. If an operator is falling behind on, say, a Wednesday at 1pm, they can react swiftly and deploy dynamic pricing by sending a promotion to their marketing database and through their online delivery partner to send an instant offer. If someone is hungry and they’re scrolling through a delivery app, pushing a dynamic offer to them via that channel is a pretty instant way to attract business that might otherwise have passed by.

However, operators must consider the costs associated with on-boarding a delivery partner and factor this into their pricing strategy. The collaboration will demand a mark-up on menu prices to ensure those making the deliveries are paid fairly and to pay the platform provider for their services. Operators therefore need to make sure they can reasonably cover these costs without upsetting loyal customers with a hefty price increase.

Trend-wise, we’re seeing 24-hour availability growing in demand. The operator’s own capacity to fulfil orders will also have an impact on the pricing structure. With apps like Uber Eats and Deliveroo bringing in round-the-clock services, it’s clear the demand is very much there. However, operators need to ensure the cost of hiring additional staff and potentially extending their opening hours are covered if they do decide to use the 24/7 flexibility of these platforms.

We also envisage the consumer will be seeking ever greater convenience over the next 12 months. Successful delivery providers will be constantly innovating to meet the needs of their customers, making it quicker and easier to order, as well as opening up new communication channels, such as voice command – something we see as a significant development in restaurant marketing for the near future.

When thinking about restaurant marketing for the voice tech age, operators should factor in the introduction of voice search optimization both in their apps and for other online ordering channels. They should include the option for voice response when answering customer FAQ pages or designing online menus and pricing. Voice will be an increasingly important part of the partnership with online delivery providers as the tech progresses.

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