Friday, August 13, 2021

Independent Restaurants Can Get More for Sales for Less Cost


Over the past ten years or so food retail technology companies have seemingly focused on developing App’s and software for chain restaurants. They would discount the price charged for the service provided to larger chains and or allow chain to invest in their growing start-up according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.    

The wind may have changed directions as there is a new ecommerce company wants to bring its technology and marketing smarts to independent restaurant sector, and the service offers commission-free online ordering.

Have you heard of Lunchbox?  Well, Lunchbox is buying another small online restaurant marketplace Spread as it looks to build a more restaurant-friendly version of giant aggregators like DoorDash and Grubhub. 

Spread launched late last year in New York City with the goal of offering a marketplace for independent restaurants that is more affordable than those of the large delivery providers. It does not charge restaurants per-order commissions, and also allows them to keep all customer data. The idea is to give mom and pops a large but economical platform on which to market themselves.

It was a model that aligned well with Lunchbox's vocal anti-third-party delivery stance. 

“We have been preaching how much we don’t like what third-party delivery companies have been doing to restaurants,” said Lunchbox CEO Nabeel Alamgir, referring to high commissions, a lack of data sharing and other things restaurants take issue with. Acquiring Spread, he said, was a way for Lunchbox to put its money where its mouth is.

Now fast growing Lunchbox, offers online ordering, website and marketing services for small restaurant chains. It will bring that expertise to Spread, with plans to relaunch the site in about two months after updates and stress testing. There are already more than 1,5000 restaurants listed on Spread, and Lunchbox will work on adding more as well as eventually expanding it to other markets.

You have to like the fact that Alamgir, who earlier this year launched a restaurant listing site dubbed, is not shy about his distaste for the traditional third-party delivery model. He hopes Spread will double as a shot across the bows of its larger competitors. 

"If we can motivate some of these partners to bring down their third-party price, I think that’s a huge win," he said.

So, Spread works like the other third-party marketplaces. Customers can browse its restaurant selection, filtering by cuisine, dietary preference and price, before placing an order for delivery or pickup. Unlike its larger competitors, though, Spread does not have its own delivery workers; rather, it dispatches the order to whatever service a restaurant is using, be it DoorDash, Relay or its own couriers. 

Here is what I like, Spread makes money mainly by selling marketing campaigns to restaurants; a $1 order fee for restaurants to pay for website upkeep will be discontinued under Lunchbox. Its selection will continue to be limited to independents for now, though Alamgir said he hadn't decided yet whether to eventually allow chains into the marketplace. The data will help the team a lunchbox create a marketing campaign just for you.  That is your point of differentiation in you market.

Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.


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