There’s no doubt that from a consumer perspective, having access to almost every local restaurant at the push of a button on our phones is awesome.
But a recent story by WAMU88.5 American University Radio asked a handful of small restaurants for their thoughts on the services and their responses were less than positive.
One of the people interviewed was the owner of a Lebanese restaurant, said these delivery services are great for customers but terrible for her bottom line.
She points out that many of the apps customers use can take cuts as big as 30%, which in the food industry, eats away at almost all the margin made by the restaurant in exchange for a wider customer base. One study found that margins in the average restaurant can run as low as 6%, which means every order sent out the door through a meal delivery app is going to lose the restaurant money.
Could this be considered an advertising cost? Perhaps, but to what end?
We saw this with Groupon. What initially starts as a way to seemingly acquire new loyal customers might only turn into a money-losing proposition.
Our hope is that as the delivery services evolve and restaurants adapt to a new way of doing business that they find some middle ground. We would hate to see local businesses suffer, but also enjoy the convenience of fast delivery.