So, as more and more consumers become aware of the dangers of the Food Delivery Mafia, are restaurants really getting it? There are so many reasons restaurants shouldn’t use Doordash, GH or Uber Eats, but the number one reason might surprise you, it actually surprised me too. What surprised me even more is the fact that so many restaurants know they’re being taken advantage of and yet are so afraid of the food delivery mafia they just keep paying them.
After we launched our food delivery coop last year to combat the big 3, I thought it would be a no brainer that other restaurants owners would drop those companies, yet I was very wrong. I quickly realized that especially during a pandemic restaurants were struggling to keep every single customer. What I wanted to scream from the rooftops was, THESE COMPANIES ARE STEALING YOUR DATA AND YOUR CUSTOMERS!
The Fight for Data
Let’s break this down. When you use one of the big 3 they basically take over the internet and pose as you all over the place. They link to your google my business page and they create dummy pages to outrank your own website to make people think they’re ordering direct. They even redirect phone calls from yelp so that you get charged when people place a phone order! In many cities (where it’s still legal) they put your restaurant on their market place without your consent. So, why on earth would they go to all this trouble to snag a few orders. Well, it’s not about the orders, it’s about the DATA. We live in a world where customer data is more valuable than oil and these companies know what they can do with that data.
So why would you just GIVE your customer data to those large companies so they can effectively put you out of business? I wouldn’t! The delivery mafia want you to think they’re brining you customers. In reality most people aren’t just browsing for food, they go online knowing exactly what they want. BUT , even when they try to order direct via google or yelp they’re actually not. I know, it’s kind of mind blowing right?
The Importance of Owning your Data
What does Doordash want to do with your data? The short answer is A LOT of things. The long answer that’s more targeted to our industry is they want to create their own brands inside their own kitchens to compete with you. Think about it… Doordash knows exactly what your customers want to eat every night. They know that Fred orders Joe’s Pizza every Friday and get’s the large extra sausage pizza with cheesy breadsticks and wings. So, now Doordash is creating their own kitchens, they have access to all of Joe’s Pizzas items they can just create the same menu and then send a message to all of Joe’s Pizza customers saying order from Joey’s Pizza (almost the same name) and get 50% off tonight. Then they rank Joey’s Pizza first on the doordash search menu and move Joe’s Pizza to the bottom so no one sees them. Now, wtf does Joe’s Pizza do now? The answer is he’s screwed. Because he allowed Doordash to do this and that lengthy agreement he signed without reading allows Doordash , GH and Uber to do exactly this. That agreement even prevents restaurants from entering into a class action lawsuit against these companies. It almost sounds like science fiction right? Unfortunately it’s not. It’s already happening all over the world.
Taking Back What’s Yours
I’ve come to the conclusion that most restaurants don’t understand the true value of their customer data. I’m lucky because I’ve studied marketing for years. I know how important retargeting an audience is. Moving them from cold to warm to hot audiences is a skill. Most restaurant owners don’t know that they could easily convert their customers if they put a tiny bit of effort into keeping their own customer data. Here are a few ways to convert your customers to your own coop or direct ordering:
- Advocacy Posts- social media is wonderful tool if you use it properly. When you tell your customers why they need to order a certain way they’ll do it. People want to support local businesses more than ever. However, you have to give them a reason to change their habits. Just like your parents taught you honesty is the best policy. TELL your customers why those companies hurt your business.
- Old school flyers- At our restaurant we staple a LOCO flyers to every single bag that leaves the restaurant. That flyer talks about why we started the coop, has a QR code to download the app and has a FREE Delivery coupon on it. Putting your request right in their face with a freebie means they won’t miss it.
- Bribes – bribing your customers with some free food for a download never fails. We have a QR code at our register and when someone downloads the coop app for the first time they get a FREE taco. Who doesn’t love free food?
Our delivery coop Loco Las Vegas allows restaurant owners to have access to their own customer data as if they ordered direct. The bigger question is; are you, a restaurant owner, going to take back your customers from the food delivery mafia? Or will you continue to allow them to take advantage of independent restaurants and effectively put them out of business. For me the answer is HELL NO. We ditched the mafia as soon as we started our coop. Within a few weeks we converted those customers to the coop. For us it was a risk well worth taking to protect our business for the future.
Restaurants SHOULDN’T be using Doordash, GH or Uber eats, but those that have the courage to take back what’s theirs will be the ones left standing in the end. Is that you?