In my last post, I talked about how the Deliveroo ordering process works from the point of view of a restaurant. In this post, I will walk through the newest entrant in the delivery space – Just Eat – and contrast how the process works. This is from the view of a restaurant outside of a busy urban area (like London), so your mileage will vary in more densely-populated areas.
Just Eat Onboarding
Just Eat take care of the whole process for you and send you what is basically a hefty piece of hardware about the size of a stack of dinner plates (or an EPOS system with cash drawer). There is no onboarding cost (unlike Deliveroo). The hardware is an integrated unit with a large touchscreen and built-in printer, and the screen is angled to be operated at counter-top level so you’ll need space you normally use for prep or plating in the kitchen. It’s a very nice piece of equipment.
Our experience with the onboarding was not a smooth one as Just Eat kept making errors with the menu. On one occasion we were offline for two whole weeks while they sorted out the issues. Support was not great because you bounced between the telephone support and the online ticket system. For example, the tablet asked you to call the help centre to get back online, and when you did they said they could do nothing so you must raise a ticket. Also, responses were slow and there was no threading of replies to the original request so tracking what was being talked about was tricky when you have a few issues ongoing.
For one of my restaurants (Sel et Sucre – a French creperie and bistro in Windsor), Just Eat decided to split the menu into two separate venues and claim that it is impossible to merge them. This has been ongoing for over a month so we are offline. It has been escalated, but at the time of writing there is still no clear reason why we can’t just have one menu with multiple sections like other restaurants.
I’m sure Just Eat don’t make these errors consistently with all their restaurant partners, but it’s not been smooth from here.
By contrast, Deliveroo has nailed this process and support requests are usually answered within 24 hours (though some might take longer), are threaded so you know what’s being talked about, and they get things done. Rarely do you need to escalate issues.
Just Eat Ordering Process
Here’s what should happen:
- An order comes to the tablet which you have to confirm
- You can cancel the order if you want to (you can’t do this with Deliveroo)
- The system says “Do not make it until we allocate a driver”
- [You Wait]
- A driver is allocated
- You make the food
- You click “Food Ready”
- The driver comes in, picks up the food and delivers it to the customer
Unlike Deliveroo, there is no time on the order so you have no idea how long you are going to have to wait for a driver (in 95% of cases). So the process really is this:
- An order comes to the tablet which you have to confirm
- It says “Do not make it until we allocate a driver”
- You wait
- And wait
- And wait
- Customer calls to complain
- Order is Cancelled (but Just Eat then states you rejected it)
- Just Eat expect you to compensate the customer because the food was late!
The longest we had to wait was 3 hours (the customer actually came in and picked it up himself and we sent the driver away when he finally arrived). Another occasion was a wait of over 90 minutes. And that’s not counting the ones where a driver is never assigned. Some orders were picked up promptly, so it’s not all bad, but in Weybridge, the majority are late or cancelled leading to very unhappy customers and a bad reputation for the restaurant.
The biggest challenge is that when a driver is finally assigned, you have about 15 minutes to make the order. Just Eat still seems to work on what I call the “pizza and burger model” where 15 minutes is OK. For a fine dining restaurant (which they are trying to woo) you might need 40 minutes to make a meal for four. Needless to say, the self-employed driver is unhappy as s/he is losing money as they only get paid per delivery and they now have to wait for the food to be made.
Just Eat do give the restaurant the option of delivering the food themselves, and you pay a lower commission for this. However, it’s an all-or-nothing option – the restaurant either delivers all orders, or Just Eat delivers all orders. The customer can also opt to collect in person in either delivery model. If you can deliver yourself, it works very well and you can notify the customer when the order leaves your restaurant with the click of a button.
Commission & Payments
As with all delivery companies, you have to pay a ‘healthy’ commission to be featured on their app and website. As Just Eat don’t charge an onboarding fee, this is more palatable for an independent restaurant.
Just Eat also charge a small delivery fee to the customer as well as a service charge, which makes things a little more expensive for the customer than ordering through Deliveroo. Also, Just Eat allows the restaurant to charge what they want for the food. By contrast, Deliveroo requires you to charge exactly what you charge in-house (or lower), which means a restaurant can absorb some of the commission with Just Eat in their prices, though this runs the risk of making you less competitive.
Just Eat have the most primitive reporting system. Online, you can view an order summary for either 1 day, 1 week or 1 month from a start date you choose. Just Eat then shows you a table on screen with a summary of the order totals. You can click each order to see the details. However, there is no download option so you have to cut-and-paste what’s on screen and reformat into Excel. Also, you only see 15 orders at a time and have to page through multiple screens to see everything. It’s more time consuming if you plan to do any post-analysis.
Also, Just Eat do not account for VAT (only uberEATS does that) so you will have to work this out yourself by either re-keying the orders in your EPOS or finding a way to list the items sold and post-processing them in batch.
Questions to Ask
When onboarding with any delivery company there are a few key questions to ask:
- How much commission do you charge?
- Does this change if we work with other delivery partners?
- How far do you deliver?
- How reliable is your fleet in my area?
- Is there an onboarding fee?
- How long do support requests take to answer?
- Do I have an account manager?
- How do I escalate issues?
- What can I control from the ordering tablet? (This is usually menu items and whether you are open or not, but do check)
- Do I have a control panel where I can manage my menu and restaurant?
- How much control does this control panel give me?
The last two questions are relevant because all of the Big 3 offer an admin system for you to manage your restaurant. This goes to different levels depending on the partner and ranges from an order summary for accounting and statistical purposes (e.g. Deliveroo and UberEATS) through to more detailed options with Just Eat.
I hope you found this little guide (with lots of personal side-notes) useful? Let me know in the comments and feel free to ask for more pieces you’d like to read. Thanks for reading!
Chris emailed me a few questions about this article and I have posted a follow-up here: Q&A Chewsday: Just Eat vs Bespoke Delivery Systems.