With third party delivery apps growing their user base by the millions each year – even before the pandemic – we would not hesitate to say that delivery is the future of dining.
For larger chains this is good news. With a widespread delivery infrastructure already in place they are obviously benefitting from the recent boom in food delivery. These chains can also afford working with major third party delivery apps like UberEats or DoorDash.
But for smaller establishments and local restaurants the recent delivery boom can mean bankruptcy.
While they claim to be a lifeline for restaurants amidst lockdowns and an increasingly delivery-driven world, the fees of major food delivery apps are not exactly sustainable. Good news is there are third party delivery app alternatives that restaurants can actually call a partner.
Think we’re pulling your leg? Read more to learn about 4 of the best third party delivery app alternatives out there.
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Black and Mobile
Black and Mobile is a black-owned delivery app alternative. Launched in 2019, they partner exclusively with black-owned restaurants.
Where: Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia
Fees: Black and Mobile take 20% commission from partner restaurants and only 15% from those that deliver exclusively through the service.
About Black and Mobile: 22-year-old founder David Cabello and his brother Aaron were working at a bookstore and side gigging as delivery men for Postmates and UberEats when they came up with the idea of connecting both sides of an underserved marketplace.
On the one hand, the app offers relatively low fees which allow restaurants to expand their reach and stay competitive by going digital. Black and Mobile is also the first to provide inner city neighbourhoods with delivery services they didn’t have while hiring directly from these communities.
COVID-19 influence: In its first year, the company managed to rake in $25k but closed doors for a couple of months after Cabello was hit by a car. By 2020 the company’s revenues were at $500k, an increase of 2,000%. Clearly they are onto something.
Why we love them: This is an underdog story, and we dig that. While Cheetah took action to support underprivileged and discriminated black communities in Oakland, the brother duo bootstrapped their way through botched launches and self-funding until partnering with PepsiCo’s Dig In program.
Feastin’ is a virtual marketplace that connects clients in the Bay Area to restaurants providing meal-kits, chilled prepared meals, groceries, alcohol and more. It’s s delivery app alternative that caters especially for restaurants that had to pivot during the pandemic.
Where: Bay Area
Fees: Restaurants pay ZERO commission, startup, monthly or other fees. The 20% service fee is charged to ordering clients and covers all operating costs. Now that’s good karma.
About Feastin’: Until last March, Hannah Wagner and Sebastiaan Van De Rijt were fully occupied running Bamboo Asia and adamantly avoided the top 4 major delivery apps. But when dine-in business dried up, they found themselves with no efficient way to get food to their clients. So in October 2020 they launched Feastin’.
The unique thing about this delivery app alternative is the two-day delivery time, meaning food is not ‘on demand’. This increases their delivery efficiency five-fold, enables direct employment with ethical wages, benefits and working hours for employees and even helps slow down today’s instant-gratification culture.
COVID-19 influence: Coming out of the pandemic, everything about Feastin’ is geared to fit into the new world. Hannah and Sebastiaan believe that reliance on gig-workers for food delivery isn’t sustainable. Especially now, when so many families need stability, creating a business that is committed to its employees is a shining beacon in the delivery space.
Why we love them: All restaurant meals and DIY meal-kits ordered on Feastin’ are delivered chilled with reheating instructions. By cooking the meal across the finish-line themselves, customers enjoy a much fresher and higher quality of food.
Feastin’ also allows bundling of tasty morsels and treats from multiple restaurants at no extra charge.
We love Feastin’ because they subscribe to the same ideals we do here at Cheetah. As wholesale suppliers at-the-touch-of-a-screen, we believe in high-quality on-demand produce without compromise on the tenets of a sustainable ecosystem.
Slice is a nationwide delivery app alternative that focuses solely on – you guessed it – pizzas.
Where: Nationwide, city and rural. Check out the Slice San Francisco pizzeria list to see who’s already online in the bay area.
Fees: $2.25 flat fee per order (only for orders over $10), will get you a new optimized website, marketing services and exposure. There are no setup, marketing, or monthly fees.
About Slice: Ilir Sela grew up in the pizzerias of New York City. With almost 30 members of his extended family owning one, it was only a matter of time that he found his way into the business.
He realized that although family pizzerias are experts in pie making, delivery technology and marketing are not their strength. In 2010 he began building websites and online delivery platforms.
Slice offers a total software solution including full-service website design and optimization as well as end-to-end handling of ordering and delivery, all at bottom dollar flat fees. That way pizzerias can focus on baking.
Although from the restaurant’s perspective Slice is the delivery agent, the crust of the matter is that Slice outsources deliveries to white-label apps. With over 15,000 restaurants on the service, Slice has been able to gain leverage and get outstanding rates.
COVID-19 influence: During the pandemic, Americans have opted for budget comfort food and pizza is on the top of the list. The 3 major pizza brands in the US had over 20% increase in their off-premises sales in mid-2020 owing largely to their advanced technology and marketing capacity.
To compete against the giants, small independent pizzerias had to go digital, and Slice’s alternative delivery app is how they did it. Slice managed to raise $43 million during the pandemic (for a total of $82 million) and went above and beyond to continue employing their global team of 700 people.
Why we love them: Everyone wants a slice of the delivery app pie, but when it comes to pizzas, Slice is going for it all, without losing touch of where it came from. This delivery app alternative’s low flat fee makes sure the lion’s share goes to the restaurants and that’s why so many pizzerias around the nation have chosen them over the other major delivery apps.
Chowbus - Leading Delivery App Alternative for Asian Owned Businesses
Chowbus is a third party delivery app alternative that focuses on independent Asian restaurants and shops.
Where: 22 cities around the US including SF and the bay area and even Toronto and Vancouver in Canada.
Fees: Signing up will entail a one-time activation fee that provides restaurants with a professional photoshoot, the Chowbus software and a tablet to take orders. After that its a flat commission fee (not a percentage) on orders that is rumored to be “way below” industry standards.
About Chowbus: Founders Linxin Wen (CEO) and Suyu Zhang (CTO) started Chowbus in 2016 by collecting orders from friends on WeChat and running the deliveries themselves.
They noticed that the major apps simply did not cover the restaurants their community loved. Since then, Chowbus has experienced meteoric growth, displaying just how huge a niche market can be.
Besides becoming the go-to delivery app alternative for Asian food and products, the company offers a unique option to bundle multiple restaurants and stores in a single delivery at no added fee. And consumers love it.
COVID-19 influence: Pre-pandemic, Chowbus was already available in 12 cities and landed a $4 million seed investment in 2019.
As communities rallied to support their local restaurants and grocery stores during lockdowns, the company experienced a monumental growth of 700%. This paved the way to a major partnership with Omsom flavor packets and two funding rounds that brought in a total of $63 million in 2020.
This massive investment allowed Chowbus to expand to 25 cities nationwide as well as significantly upgrade their services. Internally this meant better dispatch management technology, consumers are treated with more options and a more intuitive app interface.
For restaurants, Chowbus is developing a proprietary full-suite POS system, integrated with marketing tools and of-course the delivery/take-out/dine-in system. If you have not yet committed to one of the top 5 POS systems, we would seriously look into Chowbus.
Why we love them: Despite its rapid growth, Chowbus has not lost sight of its roots and continues to promote mom-and-pop businesses. This rings true with us here at Cheetah, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Their restaurant relationship teams are 100% mandrin speaking showing just how clear they are of who drives their virtual marketplace. We especially love their dine-in reservation option that allows guests to order before even being seated, simply ingenious.
Compared to the most popular dine-in reservation systems this is quite a unique feature that benefits both the restaurants and diners.
Still Not Convinced? Try Setting Up Your Own Delivery Service
If working with third party delivery app alternatives still doesn’t seem like the right track for you, you can always set up your own delivery system.
This doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. Third-party last-mile delivery management apps will give you all the tools you need while still retaining control over the process. One example is SF based Onfleet which Black and Mobile use too.
Another way to go is a complete DIY. Think you’re ready to handle your own delivery operation? Read about how to set up a delivery service for your restaurant here.