“So…I was thinking…open relationship?”

Have you ever faced that question yourself? Would you consider it? Whilst some see an open relationship as a way of strengthening an existing bond, others see it as a significant step toward weakening an existing relationship.

The experts advise an open relationship is not to be entered into lightly and takes a lot of time and effort for it to be successful. If that is the case, Im not sure why restaurants enter into agreements with delivery companies so readily. Surely this is creating an open relationship with your customers and so these decisions should be subject to the same rigour. After all, your customers are the most important people in your businesses life right?

As with an open relationship between a couple, the initial excitement of delivery businesses must be intoxicating. All those new customers you have never met before who are trying you out for the first time. The kitchen will be hot and you will be getting busy – trying to impress someone new every night. But after the initial surge, the excitement abates and you realise that whilst more people want you the relationship is not as deep or secure. And it is costing you a heap of money. 35% of your top line is a massive slice of margin.

To make matters worse, your best customers are starting to feel less loved. Whilst they wait in line in your shop they see your attention is more focussed on all these new customers with delivery orders cutting the queue and flying out the door. I mean, they have been with you so long, make the effort to actually come and visit you. They are more profitable. And they miss you.

I am seeing more and more stories about the negative impacts of food delivery services on small businesses. Established businesses are spinning their wheels on orders for delivery services to customers they never see and are slowly going broke whilst they do it. What’s more, there is no control over your product or the experience of the customer. What’s worse is those businesses have invited a third party in between them and their customers and have lost control of the relationship.

Food delivery businesses look like they are here to stay but I think there needs to be fresh thinking on pricing. Businesses should incentivise customers to come into their store so that they can form a relationship and control the experience. Perhaps an additional surcharge on the food pricing for food delivery would be a good idea. Also, don’t make me feel like every delivery order is prioritised over the people in the restaurant. If a customer is there they want to feel like the most important person.

Love your customers and they will love you back ten fold.

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