7 Local Logistics and Delivery Platforms for Restaurants

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restaurantRetailers can get away with one-day or two-day delivery timelines, but restaurants are held to a different standard. Meals need to be easy to order, easy to pay for, and they need to be delivered while they’re still hot — a feat that’s much easier said than done in an industry with low margins and high turnover.

Carryout and delivery orders accounted for 25.2 billion of the 61 billion restaurant visits in 2012, and Americans spend $14 billion annually on delivered meals, which means restaurants are missing out on a big chunk of revenue when they forego delivery services. A number of local logistics vendors are stepping in with platforms meant to simplify the delivery process for restaurant owners, providing tools to manage and process orders digitally.

1. Seamless: Promote your restaurant to online “shoppers.”
Since merging with GrubHub, Seamless has become the 800-pound gorilla of the meal delivery market. The company provides restaurants with a way to post their menus and accept orders online. More importantly, Seamless has a built-in base of more than two million active members. This means that restaurants aren’t just using Seamless for local logistics, but also as a tool for customer acquisition. Participating restaurants can receive orders electronically through the platform, and they can get paid for those orders through Seamless directly. In exchange for its services, Seamless charges restaurants a commission that falls somewhere between 10% and 15% of the price of the food, tax, and tip.

2. Yelp Platform: Accept orders through your Yelp listing.
Introduced in July, Yelp Platform provides restaurants with a way to accept delivery orders through their Yelp listings. Supported by Eat24 and Delivery.com, Yelp Platform is currently available to restaurants in New York City and San Francisco. Consumers can place orders from their mobile or desktop devices, and restaurants can integrate their ordering, payment, fulfillment, and customer support processes into Yelp’s transaction flow. Yelp has not announced a pricing structure for its online delivery platform.

3. FoodToEat: A delivery platform for food trucks and restaurants.
FoodToEat is an online ordering and delivery tool with a social networking component. Available only in New York City, the company has partnered with food trucks and other smaller restaurants that didn’t previously offer online ordering. After placing their orders, customers are encouraged to write reviews and discuss their dishes on FoodToEat’s social hub. The biggest difference between FoodToEat and its competitors is the pricing structure. FoodToEat costs a flat $.10 per order. Participating businesses can receive those orders with a GPRS printer, via email, or through the web.

4. Delivery.com: Post menus on a personalized landing page.
Delivery.com is a local online and mobile ordering program that provides restaurants with a way to accept orders through the web, by adding the functionality to their own Delivery.com landing pages. Available in dozens of markets throughout the U.S., Delivery.com sends orders to the business by fax or online for immediate fulfillment. The vendor also provides a number of online marketing and customer acquisition tools. Delivery.com charges businesses 12% to 15% from the subtotal for every completed order, plus an additional 2.29% (+$.10) on the total from orders purchased with a credit card.

5. EAT Club: Offload the operations and logistics of lunchtime delivery.
EAT Club takes a different approach to meal delivery by focusing solely on lunchtime orders. The company partners with restaurants, and sells specific dishes to customers to be delivered during lunchtime each day. Restaurants can fulfill these bulk orders during slow periods in the kitchen (like after the breakfast rush). EAT Club handles all of the operations and logistics that go along with meal delivery for restaurants. The company manages its own delivery team, and even provides restaurants with packaging supplies.

6. OrderUp: Attract consumers who browse menus on their smartphones.
Restaurants located in cities not serviced by major delivery vendors, like Seamless and Delivery.com, can use OrderUp to tap into the online delivery market. Currently available in 25+ cities, OrderUp has placed an increased emphasis on mobile. The company offers an app that consumers can use to place orders on their smartphones. Although consumers can place orders through OrderUp’s mobile platform, restaurants themselves handle the delivery of those orders. In certain cities, OrderUp has partnered with local courier companies to manage deliveries. OrderUp receives a commission for each order placed through its platform.

7. Delivered Dish: Offer online ordering, even without a website.
Available in Denver, San Diego, and Portland, Ore., Delivered Dish provides restaurants with a way to accept online orders, even for businesses without existing websites. Restaurants can submit their menus to Delivered Dish to be uploaded online, and any orders that come in are sent to the restaurant via fax or email. Delivered Dish’s drivers then pick up and deliver orders on behalf of the restaurant. Delivered Dish offers free menu design services for restaurants, along with online ordering tools. The company charges a commission for its services.

Know of other tools that restaurants can use to manage online ordering and delivery logistics? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.