The Wall Street Journal reports that restaurants in New York City, tired of paying fees to the third-party contractors responsible for delivering their meals, "are increasingly finding a way around the issue by avoiding the platforms and assuming ownership of the process themselves. And they say the benefits go beyond the potential savings on third-party fees."
The Journal points out that "a burgeoning industry has emerged of technology-focused companies that assist restaurants with creating, managing and marketing their own online ordering platforms and connecting them with delivery people … Most of these companies bill a monthly charge for their work instead of levying fees for each order, as the third-party ones typically do."
It isn't just a matter of owning the experience - it is also about owning the customer.
The Journal writes: "Restaurants have issues with the platforms beyond the fees, which is why many are also opting to assume responsibility for their ordering operations. Restaurants note that they can’t connect directly with customers when diners go through third parties, whether it is to promote a future offer or correct a mistake with a previous order."
- KC's View:
The third party delivery services justify their fees by saying they're providing more than just deliveries, but also the kind of promotion that restaurants cannot achieve on their own.
But the restaurants referenced in the Journal article clearly have come to a conclusion with which I entirely concur - that if you want to preserve and sustain your brand, you have to own the customer relationship. You can't outsource it, because when you lose control you run the risk of losing connection.,
This is, I hope, the conclusion that food retailers, having outsourced much of their e-commerce business to third-part contractors, also will reach. In the search for a quick solution, they may have engineered their long-term demise.