The Challenge: How Do You Turn A Profit On Third Party Delivery?
The core challenge Ottavio’s faced was that their customers wanted pizza delivery, but third-party fees made delivery unprofitable, and maintaining an in-house delivery team was unrealistic.
Antoinette's grandfather founded Ottavio's in 1953, shortly after immigrating to California from Sicily. He had his son Lenny Belvedere to help him along the way, and the restaurant includes photos of Lenny working alongside his father in the kitchen at just 9 years old.
Lenny has spent his entire life at the restaurant, and he’s seen the pizza market evolve quite a bit over the last 60 years.
While palettes, menus, and other trends have changed over the years, one thing that has remained the same is that running an in-house delivery team is way more hassle than it’s worth.
“I've always stayed away from delivery for that reason. We had delivery before... it’s just a lot of headaches.”
This is why both Lenny and Antoinette were initially excited at the invention of third party delivery services.
“This is... probably the best invention in this last quarter century is the third party delivery. I don't think there's anything that stands out more than the third party delivery in the last 25 years in the industry. I don't think so.”
Third party delivery allowed Ottavio’s to provide delivery to their customers without needing to take on the added costs and hassle of building their own driver team, purchasing cars, paying for insurance, and managing additional staff.
There was just one tiny problem.
They weren’t actually making a profit on all those delivery orders.
Despite doing $12,000 in orders through DoorDash every month, they weren’t making any money.
You can't make any money paying 30%. It's a loser, and you're just trying to capture clientele. After a while, it becomes counterproductive. You have more personnel to take care of, you know, we have four girls taking care of to-go orders on a Friday night. Well, I mean, you gotta pay for all that. And the paper products. And so, no, it's not worth it in my opinion.
What makes these commissions especially bad for restaurants like Ottavio’s is that delivery already comes with its own added costs.
Lenny described how before the pandemic, they had a small trailer in the back of the restaurant for extra supplies, paper products, and miscellaneous items. They were only using around a quarter of the trailer for the paper products used in delivery.
Once the pandemic turned all their business into delivery business, they had to expand to a twenty-foot trailer that is packed to the brim with paper supplies to this day.
"We’ve had to modify and change things pretty rapidly to evolve with that. We now have trailers in the back to hold all our to-go paper product supplies. We went from a quarter of a trailer. Now we have a 20-foot trailer full of paper supplies. That’s what it does to you, and that’s what you have to be ready for."
Additionally, you have the extra staffing costs connected to fielding phone orders and collecting cash. Four staff members on the phones at a time is expensive, and all these costs add up.
Ottavio’s was relying on takeout orders to cover these costs, because once all the numbers were added up, they were losing money on the delivery orders.
As 2022 came into view, Ottavio’s had tried multiple third party apps, and both Lenny and Antoinette decided that enough was enough. They began searching for a solution that got them off the apps.
That’s when Antoinette discovered Owner.com via a Facebook ad.
The Solution: Commission-Free Delivery Through Owner.com
Owner.com provides independent restaurants with a Fortune 500-level online experience. Using our platform, you can offer your customers an online ordering experience and loyalty program on par with Domino’s. We also provide you with many of the same automated customer marketing systems used by big national chains (plus a few advanced strategies even the chains haven’t discovered yet).
There were three main things in particular that stood out to Antoinette about Owner.com:
- It allowed Ottavio’s to deliver to customers commission-free.
- It provided Ottavio’s with a customer-friendly ordering experience.
- It allowed Ottavio's to eliminate multiple tools and consolidate to one platform.
Antionette hopped on a demo call, signed up, and was up and running with Ottavio’s new website on the Owner.com platform within 2 days.
The results were exactly what she was hoping for... and then some.
"So we launched about 10 months ago in November of 2022. And our first month sales were about 9,000 in sales. And we now do over $20,000 in sales a month. That's saving us about $2,000 a month in third party fees. So over the last 30 days, we've done $22,000 in sales with Owner.com. It's really picking up. Our customers really love it. It's easy to use. Most of our customers are older, so they love ordering at their own convenience on the tablet."
You can see Ottavio’s direct order revenue growth since starting with Owner.com in the image below.
Over the last 9 months, they’ve done $174,000 in takeout and delivery orders, and they’ve saved over $44,000 in fees that would have gone to DoorDash on these orders.
Remember that Ottavio’s was only doing $12,000 per month through DoorDash
A lot of pizzerias are worried about losing new business if they move off of the third party apps. Apps like DoorDash, UberEats, and GrubHub intentionally withhold customer data from you so that you are forced to continue reaching YOUR customers through THEIR apps (and continue paying them 30% every time your customers order from you).
That’s why we’ve developed our own process at Owner.com to help you take back control of your customer relationships. It’s a combination of great restaurant marketing and having an online ordering system your customers enjoy using.
This gives restaurant owners the option to continue using apps like DoorDash to find new customers and then turn those customers into regulars who place their orders directly (and commission-free) through the website.
But Antoinette wasn’t worried about that. She was sick and tired of DoorDash, so she simply turned it off.
It was very easy. It was very quick. And we were up and running in like two days after we signed. I canceled everything else. And I only use Owner.com. Honestly, the platform is very user friendly for us and for the customers. So ordering and the drivers picking up is just so much easier than anything else I've used. And like, literally we've used all of them.
Within two months, Ottavio’s was doing more business through Owner.com than they’d been doing on DoorDash, and just 9 months later, they doubled their DoorDash average.
While Ottavio’s has been very successful on our platform, their results are not unusual.
Union Pizza Company in Los Angeles has averaged $18,000 per month since starting with us at the end of December 2021.
Jay’s Incredible Pizza in Wilmington started at $10,000 per month and doubled that within 8 months.
And Capp’s Pizzeria and Trattoria has averaged an impressive $55,000 per month over the last year, despite having to close their dining room due to staffing issues, and saved nearly $200,000 in third party fees.
How are pizzerias so consistently able to get such incredible results on Owner.com?
While commission-free delivery is certainly a big part of it, it’s not the only piece of the equation.
How Owner.com Turns Pizzerias Into Rocket Ships
One of the most important considerations for Antoinette when considering Owner.com was her elderly clientele. She knew that many of her customers weren’t tech savvy, and she wanted to make sure they would have an easy time ordering through the website.
Creating the best possible user experience is something we invest a lot of time, money, and energy into here at Owner.com, and Antoinette was thrilled with the results.
When they first sign up, it's so cute. They're like, “I got my name and all my information filled in.” They don't do a whole lot of computer stuff, and then they'll come in and pick up [an order], and they're like, “That was so easy!”
They'll call and say, “Your phone is busy,” and I said, “Order online. It's much easier. You'll get your order in much faster.” So they come in — the older customers are so cute — they’re like, “We did it!”
It’s so cute, but super easy and some of these customers are 70 years old, and they're like, “Oh, it was easy peasy.”
Another reason pizzerias consistently get such great results on our platform is that we are providing them with a highly optimized checkout experience designed to increase their Average Order Value (AOV).
When customers arrive at the checkout, they are pushed toward high margin items through the layout:
And numerous upsells throughout the checkout process:
We are constantly improving our checkout experience, and our most recent round of updates increased AOV by an average of 19% across more than a thousand of our restaurant partners.
Learn more about all the things we do to increase earnings per customer for pizzerias via our comprehensive guide to pizza marketing.
One final reason pizzerias like Ottavio’s get such great results is that we set every pizzeria up with a loyalty program and automated marketing.
Every week, customers get emails like the one below:
And every time they order, they get reminded of all the points they’re earning:
None of this requires any effort from these pizzeria owners. It’s all an automated part of the Owner.com platform. To see everything we do for pizzerias, click here to schedule a demo.
BONUS: The Best Support You've Ever Experienced
When Antoinette signed up for Owner.com, she was so focused on getting off DoorDash and improving her bottom line that technical support wasn’t necessarily the first thing on her mind.
But as any restaurant owner can attest, technical support becomes very, VERY important when things go wrong in the middle of a kitchen rush.
Our priority at Owner.com is providing the best possible experience — one where things rarely go wrong — AND providing the best restaurant support team in the US, because whether the issue is that you are struggling to find the right feature, experiencing a bug, or having a customer complain about their third party delivery experience, you deserve a fast response.
After spending years dealing with DoorDash, UberEats, Grubhub, Postmates, ChowNow, and more, Lenny and Antoinette were both blown away by their experience with our world-class support team.
So when we talked to Owner, we went wow, this is a totally beautiful deal. This could really work for us, and it has worked. It's actually even increased our business. And the way they take care of their customers is good too. The other ones don't take care of their customers as good as Owner. Owner is more hands-on, more customer-friendly, more user-friendly. Their customer support team is really phenomenal. I love them. We call once a week, and say, “Hey, uh, this person had a problem, and I need this.” And they handle it. With the other companies, it’s like, “So what?”
Any company can say they take support seriously.
But at the end of the day, it's a question of investment. As a company grows, do they invest enough in their support team to match their increased volume of customers?
At Owner.com the answer IS and always WILL BE a resounding YES.
We answer 90% of customer calls in under 60 seconds and have the highest rated support of any restaurant software in the United States.
See Owner.com In Action
Our all-in-one-platform helps you take back control of your online presence, drive direct sales, save money on fees, and manage everything in one place. Schedule a demo to see the platform in action and discover why our new restaurant partners increase online sales by an average of 270% in their first three months using Owner.com.Schedule A Demo