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Why flexible delivery is the future of hospitality

Why flexible delivery is the future of hospitality

In the post-COVID world, restaurants can’t really opt out of takeout and delivery. Just as consumers got used to the convenience of debit and credit card payments—leaving cash-only restaurants in the dust—today’s diner expects convenience, quality and speed, whether they’re in your dining room or their living room. 

If your restaurant can’t meet these expectations, customers will likely take their business elsewhere. In today’s dynamic and über-competitive landscape, the ability to serve everywhere, seamlessly, will decide whether a restaurant thrives or merely survives.

The delivery dilemma: self-managed vs third-party delivery

The growing demand for food delivery is actually great news for restaurants—because sure, it adds complexity to your operations, but it also empowers you to grow your business in every direction, unrestrained by the confines of your physical location. 

But just as every challenge contains the seeds of opportunity, the reverse can also be true. Big opportunities can pose big challenges, which for restaurants includes managing the logistics of last-mile delivery. 

The question is: is it better to use your own delivery drivers, or outsource food delivery to a third party on demand? Let’s explore the pros and cons of each. 

Pros and cons of self-managed delivery

On the one hand, managing your own fleet of delivery drivers gives you more control over the customer experience from start to finish. This includes ensuring that deliveries are timely, food is handled properly and customer service is consistent with your standards. In most cases, you can also set your own delivery criteria—such as delivery zone, minimum basket value and delivery fees.

Delivery criteria settings in Lightspeed Order Anywhere

Delivery criteria settings in Lightspeed Order Anywhere

Self-managed delivery gives you more flexibility to customize delivery options, handle special requests and apply promos or loyalty points that may not be possible with third-party services. You also—and this is a big one—get to keep more of your profits per order, because you’ll avoid paying commissions to a third party.

On the other hand, managing your own delivery fleet is often a lot more hassle for you, the restaurateur. You have to find and train delivery drivers, and with today’s sky-high turnover rates, hiring and training can feel like a (costly and time-consuming) continuous loop.

You’re also responsible for managing delivery logistics, efficiently scheduling drivers and optimizing delivery routes to minimize delivery times and fuel costs. And while you’ll keep more of your profits per delivery order, there are operational costs to consider, including (but not limited to) driver salaries (which are only going up), fuel, routing software and vehicle maintenance.

Pros and cons of third-party delivery services

Just as there are pros and cons to managing your own delivery, there are pros and cons to using third-party delivery. On the one hand, outsourcing your delivery to a third party requires a lower initial investment, making it a more accessible option.

Third-party delivery services can also easily scale to handle fluctuations in demand, without requiring additional resources from the restaurant. And by leaving the logistics of delivery to the experts, restaurants can focus on efficiently managing their core operations. 

However, outsourcing your delivery to a third party means less control over the customer experience. Late deliveries, incorrect orders or food quality issues can negatively impact your restaurant’s reputation, even if you have little control over them. 

Real-time tracking, order updates and driver communication also require reliable and integrated technology solutions. Third-party delivery services can also charge high commission fees, which can eat into your profit margins on every delivery order. 


Pros Cons
Self-managed delivery – more control over the customer experience

-improved food handling and quality control

-brand consistency

-more flexibility and customization

-keep more of your profits

-hiring, retaining and training drivers

-managing driver schedules, delivery logistics and route planning

-direct costs including driver salaries, fuel, vehicle maintenance, etc.

Third-party delivery -low or no initial investment

-save costs and hassle of managing your own delivery fleet

-easy to scale up or down as your needs change

-increased operational efficiency

-build customer loyalty by giving them more options and convenience

-less control over the customer experience

-dependence on external drivers

-limited flexibility and customization

-integration challenges

-high commission fees

Manage delivery your way with software that lets you do both

Restaurant software that enables both self-managed delivery and on-demand delivery using a white-label third-party solution offers restaurateurs more options, more control and unparalleled flexibility. With this dual capability, restaurants can:

  • Leverage their own drivers when available and reliable, or quickly tap into a network of local couriers when they aren’t. 
  • Save themselves the cost and hassle of managing their own delivery fleet by outsourcing delivery to a white-label delivery-as-a-service solution.
  • Adjust to last-minute staffing challenges—e.g. driver no-shows, sick leave or emergencies—without throwing your delivery schedule out of whack or negatively impacting your customer service. 

With Lightspeed’s Order Anywhere, for example, restaurants can switch between using their own drivers and using a third-party’s local couriers on demand. It’s literally as simple as switching between “My own staff” and “On-demand delivery” in your Order Anywhere delivery preferences.

What is Order Anywhere?

Order Anywhere is Lightspeed POS’s mobile ordering software that enables restaurants to grow their business with off and on-premise ordering—including QR code ordering, takeout and delivery—all commission-free. 

Now integrated with Uber Direct, Order Anywhere offers restaurateurs one of the most flexible delivery solutions on the market.

  • Offer customers fast, reliable delivery using your own delivery fleet or Uber’s world-class network of local couriers on-demand.
  • Give customers more options with same-day, express and schedule delivery.
  • Own your customer data and give customers a fully branded experience.
  • Consolidate orders from all your sales channels in your POS, simplifying your workflows and reporting.
  • Scale delivery operations up or down as needed—adjust to your business’s evolving needs.

With Order Anywhere, it’s easier than ever to streamline and simplify orders, whether they’re placed in-house, online or over the phone. 

Feature Description
Digital menu browsing Let customers view your online menu by scanning a QR code so they’re ready to order when a server arrives. Far cheaper and easier to update than printed menus.
Take out/pick up orders Via the unique QR code or redirect on your own website, you can let customers place take-away orders with pickup as soon as possible or up to 7 days in advance. 
QR code ordering inside the restaurant Besides making your digital menu available by QR code, you can let your customers place orders and even pay their bill using their mobile phone.
Delivery orders using your own delivery drivers Accept online delivery orders and manage last-mile delivery using your own delivery drivers. Choose your own delivery zone, minimum basket value and delivery fee. 
On-demand delivery using Uber Direct Offer customers on-demand, reliable and fast delivery with access to Uber’s world-class fleet of delivery drivers. Pay only a fee per delivery—no commissions or marketplace fees.

What is Uber Direct?

Uber Direct is a white-label delivery-as-a-service solution that lets restaurants take orders through their own channels (website, app, etc.) and then use Uber’s extensive network of local couriers for last-mile delivery on demand. 

  • Fast and reliable: get your customers what they want when they want it. Build loyalty by offering on-demand delivery of goods through your app, website, or phone. Tap into the same network of couriers as Uber Eats.
  • 0% commission, no marketplace fees: pay only a fee per delivery, no hidden charges and no deductions from the dollar you make.
  • More control over your margins: set the price your customers will pay for express, same-day and scheduled deliveries. Split the cost of delivery with your customers or pass on the full amount.
  • Own your brand and customer experience: offer fast, reliable local delivery within a native brand experience. 

Note that Uber Direct is not the same as Uber Eats. Uber Eats is Uber’s food delivery platform, where restaurants can list their menus and get discovered by Uber Eats’ platform users. To list their menus on the Uber Eats’ platform, restaurants need the Uber Eats Marketplace integration.

How does on-demand delivery work in Order Anywhere?

Let’s break down the basics of white-label delivery. To use a white-label delivery service like Uber Direct, first you have to integrate it with your restaurant POS. In Order Anywhere, Lightspeed’s done the work for you, so all you need to do to start using delivery-as-a-service is to enable the connection in the backend of Order Anywhere.

This process may vary slightly depending on if you’ve already been using Order Anywhere or if you’re just getting started, but generally the process unfolds in the following steps:

  1. Restaurant enables on-demand delivery. Read and accept the terms and conditions, then review and confirm your business details. 
  2. Customer places an order. A customer will place their order on one of your sales channels, such as your website or app, where you have control over your delivery options and customer-facing delivery fees.
  3. Restaurant prepares the order. You receive the order in your Lightspeed POS. A courier is notified when the order is marked “ready for delivery”
  4. Delivery driver picks up the order. An Uber delivery driver will come to your store to pick up the order and transport it to your customer. Order tracking is provided to both you and your customer, and you can also choose to request proof of delivery.
  5. Customer receives the order. The delivery person will hand off the order to the customer.

Growing your business in every direction with Order Anywhere

Flexible delivery solutions don’t just solve immediate logistical challenges, they also contribute to the long-term success of your restaurant. Here’s how:

  • Increased customer satisfaction. By consistently meeting delivery expectations, you build a loyal customer base. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers and recommend your restaurant to others.
  • Operational efficiency. With the ability to scale your delivery operations as needed, you can optimize your workforce, reduce operational costs and keep your workflows simple to keep your staff happy.
  • Competitive advantage. Flexible delivery options can set you apart from competitors who may be struggling with rigid, less adaptable delivery models. This can help you deliver consistently excellent customer service from wherever your customers are, thereby increasing customer loyalty and market share.
  • Revenue growth. By expanding your delivery capabilities, you can reach a broader audience and offer your customers the convenience and speed they expect. This can drive additional revenue streams and contribute to your overall growth.

Learn more about Order Anywhere.

Contact us today to find out how Lightspeed’s unified POS and payments platform can help you boost efficiency, increase revenue and grow your business faster. 

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Do I have to use Uber’s drivers for local delivery?

No, with Order Anywhere you can choose when, where and how you manage your restaurant delivery services. You are not obligated to use Uber’s courier network and can use your own delivery drivers if you prefer.

Can I use Uber Direct and my own delivery fleet to handle surges in delivery orders or improve delivery times?

No, you can’t use both your own delivery drivers and Uber’s drivers simultaneously. But, you can easily change your delivery preferences from “use my own staff” to “on-demand delivery” to gain access to Uber’s courier network if your fleet is out of commission for any reason. Keep in mind that once an order is placed, it cannot be reassigned.

Do I have to pay a commission to use on-demand delivery with Order Anywhere?

No, there are no commissions or marketplace fees to use on-demand delivery with Order Anywhere. You’ll pay a fee per delivery (based on distance and speed of delivery) and nothing else.

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More of this topic: Management & Operations