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Third-party delivery is now a fact of life for many restaurants. In a recent delivery webinar hosted by SpeedLine, Kevin Wade, owner of Previti Pizza in Manhattan, referred to it as a "necessary evil," because despite often steep commissions, 3rd-party aggregators like GrubHub, Eat24, and Doordash do bring in new business. 

And if a large percentage of your customers are millennials, they may prefer ordering using a 3rd-party app on their phones to any other kind of ordering. Micheal Stadnicki, owner of Chicago eatery Taco Lulú, also a guest on the delivery webinar, remarked that he's even seen people use apps to order while in his store, rather than approaching a cashier.

4 Tips for Using 3rd-Party Delivery 

Below we explore a few strategies that you can use to ensure you're getting the most out of third-party delivery services. 

1. Funnel Third-Party Orders Into Your SpeedLine POS

One of the major drawbacks to third-party delivery is that most of these orders come into your store on tablets not connected to your POS, and have to be transferred into the POS manually. This takes staff away from other duties, and increases your labor costs. If you have orders coming from multiple aggregators, your can end up with a mess of tablets and wires, and orders can get missed, or mistyped.

In the How to Make Third Party Delivery Work for Your Restaurant OnPoint guest post, Sterling Douglass, CEO and founder of SpeedLine technology partner, Chowly™, talks about how to deal with "tablet hell" by integrating third-party ordering with your POS. Both Kevin Wade and Michael Stadnicki mentioned that for a relatively low cost, they find using Chowly with their SpeedLine POS relieves a lot of pressure during peak periods. Chowly routes third-party orders directly into SpeedLine, where they print in the kitchen just like other orders. Find out more about Chowly.

2. Review 3rd-Party Sites

Once you start using third-parties, you give up some control. Your menu now appears on a third-party site, and deliveries may be out of your hands. Third parties like Skip the Dishes or Postmates are busy with thousands of clients, so you may need to take the initiative and check to see how they're representing your brand. Is your menu accurate and up-to-date? Do drivers appear presentable, and are they getting orders to customers on time?  

3. Encourage Direct Ordering 

No getting around it, you will make more money on direct orders—so be sure to encourage customers to order direct from you next time. Put one of your menus in each order that goes out, and try offering a discount on direct orders (get more ideas in this recent OnPoint post). If you have your own online ordering app, encourage customers to download that, as it's just as easy to use as a third-party delivery app, but doesn't feature your competition! If you're a SpeedDine customer, look into the SpeedDine mobile app—just announced this month. 

4. Track 3rd-Party Orders in SpeedLine

If you're using third-party ordering with SpeedLine (whether orders come in via Chowly, or are entered manually from a tablet) you can use SpeedLine reports to track revenues for each third party order service, and compare them to your payments from the service. One way to do this is to create separate tender types for each third party, and then run the "Tender Summary" report at the end of your payment period. Another way is to create an order type for each third party, and then run the "Sales by Order Type" report.

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