8 delivery questions answered

By Kevin SpenceNov 28th, 2023

From disappearing profit margins to disappointing customer service, everyone has a bad delivery story–and it makes sense that restaurant owners would hesitate to try a new provider. As ChowNow’s Head of Product, I’ve spent years talking to restaurants about delivery, and these are the top questions I always get.

Now, I’m sharing what we learned about making delivery better, and why Flex Delivery addresses the biggest concerns restaurants face when adding or expanding service.

What we’ll cover:

  • Keeping your diners happy: Making sure your delivery experience matches your standards for dine-in service
  • Keeping your team happy: Giving them the tools and support to make things run smoother
  • Protecting your profits: Giving customers the convenience they want, but not at the cost of your margins

A paper takeout bag with a receipt and two stickers attached

Frequently Asked Questions about delivery

1. What’s the best pick: commission-based or flat-rate delivery?

Most third-party delivery apps use a commission-based pricing model, and charge up to 30% of each order—more, if you want to rank higher in search results. Although this price seems to include marketing, these apps will market their own service and not your restaurant, and keep your diner data locked. Leaving that platform in the future means losing access to the diners you served there. Still, commission-based marketplaces can be a shortcut to greater exposure.

A flat-rate delivery provider lets you lock in costs and plan for long-term growth, and helps your diners count on a fixed cost no matter the distance or order size. With Flex Delivery, you pay only $3.99 per order (the just-right delivery fee) to tap into a large driver pool with smart dispatching and the best customer service. To see what you could save by switching from commission-based delivery to flat rate, check out our delivery commissions calculator.

2. Are delivery subscription passes worth offering?

Diner subscription passes seem like a good deal to both diners and restaurants up front—where a diner can unlock cheap or free delivery through a membership, and order more frequently as a result.

However, these high-frequency diners aren’t the norm—and their repeat business only builds loyalty to the third-party marketplace and not your restaurant. It’s better to encourage all diners, both frequent and occasional, to order directly from you. That way, you can be sure you and your diners aren’t paying unnecessary fees to the other guys.

3. How do you juggle the extra legwork that delivery throws at you?

If you’re setting up your own delivery team, there’s a lot to consider. Beyond hiring and training, there’s insurance, gas costs, and dispatching drivers on the fly. At the other extreme, signing up with multiple third party apps can cause snarls when it comes to troubleshooting order issues or customer complaints.

With Flex Delivery, our restaurant-first philosophy means that our support team of real humans helps you with logistics every step of the way. We’ll set up and customize your delivery and keep it running smoothly, from seamless onboarding to monitoring each order.

4. Will delivery take a while to set up?

If you already do takeout and online ordering, adding Flex Delivery as an additional ordering channel is a breeze. The only significant change to your process is that a courier will pick up the order instead of the customer. Adding delivery for the first time? Beyond training your staff and considering your takeout packaging, we’ll handle the rest.

Restaurants always tell us how easy it is to integrate ChowNow Pro with their current operations. Our takeout tools empower you to take on more business with less effort, while being flexible to suit your needs.

Image of cars on a freeway with text noting that drivers are available

5. What’s a reasonable delivery range?

I’d encourage most restaurants to take advantage of the full 8 mile radius we have available. It helps you serve the most diners, and gives you a competitive edge over other delivery offerings that max out at 5 miles.

However, if you’re in a traffic-congested area, it might not be practical to serve diners 8 miles away. You can customize your delivery zones and fees with Flex Delivery to make the most sense for your business, location, and customers.

6. Who’s in charge of fixing a delivery gone wrong?

Our driver pool and automatically selecting the best driver for each order. Still, if a diner enters the wrong address or a driver gets a flat tire, we jump in to help.

Our 24/7 customer service team of real people monitors each order, and supports both you and your diners. If something goes wrong, they’re already dispatching a new driver, contacting the diner, and keeping you updated. Available over phone, text, chat, and email, they’re pros at triaging any issues and ensuring you and your diners get the best resolution possible.

7. What happens during a delivery outage?

We’ve built in backups to protect you against delivery outages by expanding our driver pool to include multiple couriers. With our smart dispatching system, we select the best delivery provider for each order based on coverage and response time. Flex Delivery quietly operates in the background for you, resulting in fewer canceled orders and happier customers.

8. Can I use ChowNow with other delivery services?

You can use ChowNow’s Flex Delivery as a standalone, or integrate your own drivers to boost your in-house coverage. You can also use it to replace costly third-party marketplaces that charge commissions.

ChowNow powers pickup and delivery on your website, and across 20+ high-traffic sites across the web with the Order Better Network. We get that meeting diners where they are with convenient ordering options is crucial. This approach is why our restaurant partners see 2x more orders when they add delivery to their current set up. Our smarter dispatch gets the best coverage and fastest response times for a minimal flat fee of $3.99 per order.

Image of city skyline with text above showing multiple deliveries in progress

The takeaway

In the end, providing delivery is a great way for restaurants to boost their online orders, and customers really appreciate it. I’m glad ChowNow can help restaurants avoid those expensive commissions and keep their customers happy. Restaurants work hard to give diners a great experience in-person, so having control online just feels right.

If you’re currently one of our amazing restaurant partners, reach out to the team—we’d love to help you ramp up your online ordering. If you haven’t partnered with ChowNow yet—let’s get started!

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