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Q&A

Q&A Chewsday: Just Eat vs Bespoke Delivery Systems

Chris Eke emailed me about my recent post regarding Just Eat:

I just read your post on ‘How does Just Eat work for Restaurants?‘ and found it really interesting! I do have a few questions if you don’t mind, I understand you’re probably very busy, so no rush.

From your experience, do JustEat provide their own drivers to most restaurants signed up to them? Or do many restaurants have their own delivery drivers still?

Yes to both. You need to check availability in your area as Just Eat don’t operate a delivery fleet as widespread as Deliveroo or uberEATS (yet).

Some restaurants prefer to use their own drivers as they save a large commission, but this will depend on your margins and volumes. Once you’re getting enough volume you don’t have to rely on a delivery partner, but you will have to manage another employee or three, plus cover maintenance costs, insurance (which is expensive), road tax, etc, etc. Do some maths and see if it’s worth it.

Just Eat also offer an order-only option (lower commission) if the restaurant manages the delivery. That’s where their business started. I think uberEATS are also exploring this based on their current sign-up forms.

Also, with your restaurant, when people ordered by phone or some other means than through JustEat, how did you deliver their food?

If people order direct, you either have your own drivers or outsource to a courier company like Stuart or Orkestro. We did the latter in London but, again, these companies don’t operate everywhere. Sometimes you have to offer collection only unless you can justify having your own drivers.

Finally, the role of the EPOS system, is it really necessary, or would the same functions be able to be achieved through an App, where the restaurants have their own login and password etc?

Each platform will provide you with a tablet to accept orders. There is usually an installation fee (which covers the cost of the hardware plus photography in some cases). This is not an EPOS system – it’s an order management system. The sales details are accessed via the partner’s website or via summaries emailed to you. You can re-type the orders into your EPOS if you want to, or pay Deliveroo for the integration (if they link to your EPOS), or account for the sales separately. You’d need to do a cost-benefit analysis on this.

EPOS integration is not essential, but you will have to account for VAT on sales through whichever system you use. An integrated system means it’s all done in one place, one time. This saves you time and energy which you can spend on other things.

Also, there are so many EPOS systems that app developers don’t, won’t or simply can’t integrate with them all. There is also a cost to build integrations as EPOS systems don’t have standardised APIs.

Good apps should have the necessary reporting built-in, but my experience with bespoke apps and platforms so far shows that basic reporting like this requires supplemental analysis as the apps only carry raw data (and this includes Deliveroo, uberEATS and Just Eat – apparently it’s “their” data even though they’re “your” sales which you are required to account for). At least Deliveroo sends you daily summaries listed by item sold so you (or your accountant) can quickly work this out. Deliveroo does integrate with some EPOS systems, but this is a chargeable extra (on top of their commission and installation fees).

Being a former eCommerce developer, it frustrates me that access to basic financial reporting is lacking (or is hidden behind a paywall) in today’s interconnected and automated world. However, using something like Woocommerce on your own website (which has all this data) may be worth the investment of time. There are also plugins that manage delivery, and integrations to Orkestro (mentioned above) so you can build an end-to-end order and delivery system. There may be alternatives out there but I haven’t analysed the options to date.

Thanks for reading this article about the restaurant business. I hope you liked it! If there is anything you'd like me to discuss or write about just let me know in the comments or via the contact form.

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