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Free Week Helps Black Bear Increase Delivery Awareness


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Photo Courtesy of Black Bear Diner

Many restaurant franchises now have digital delivery options, but customers may be unaware of their array of choices. Black Bear Diner, a California-based family restaurant concept, rolled out its new partnership with third-party delivery brand DoorDash by offering guests an attention-getting full week of free delivery.

“The idea is really guest education,” said Joanna Dean Scott, vice president of IT and culinary services for Black Bear. The restaurant chain had offered online ordering through Olo, a mobile and online ordering platform based in New York that partners with dispatch programs to provide delivery for guests, but it got “very little usage,” according to Dean Scott.

For the week of October 7-14, Black Bear Diner offered free delivery on online orders made through its own website. By making DoorDash the preferred delivery provider through Olo’s dispatch program, the courier service company benefits not only by being able to deliver orders made through its app, but also by delivering orders made through the restaurant site.

“So they also benefit by us having our guests aware of that delivery option,” Dean Scott (pictured right) said, explaining why DoorDash subsidized an entire free week for guests to increase awareness.

Jackie Berg, senior director of marketing for Olo, said there are two realms of delivery in restaurant commerce: direct and indirect. The direct channel is any of the brand’s apps or websites, and indirect involves marketplace orders, which includes an increasing amount of third-party players, Berg said. “We work to integrate these two fields,” Berg said of Olo’s services.

The company has more than 20 providers on the indirect delivery side, and works with more than 50,000 restaurants. “We’ve got 55 percent coverage across the U.S. population, so not just big cities and metro areas,” Berg said.

The partnership between Black Bear Diner and DoorDash arose out of a realization that point-of-sale integration was a big priority for the restaurant regarding delivery options, Dean Scott said. After attending the Food On Demand Conference last spring, she brought information back to the team and they came up with three priorities: point-of-sale integration, coverage, and commission rates. Food On Demand is a subsidiary of Franchise Times Corporation.

“After hearing people coin the term ‘tablet hell,’ or having a ton of tablets and needing people to monitor them, we agreed point-of-sale integration was high in our priorities,” Dean Scott added. Looking at a variety of partners, Black Bear Diner decided on DoorDash as it was the first that could handle the restaurant’s database, she said.

“They were the first partner that could really build up that platform quickly,” she said, adding that DoorDash was also able to cover an extensive amount of Black Bear Diner locations: 66 out of 100-plus, with additional locations awaiting rollout.

Black Bear Diner first started out with test locations in August and performed a staggered rollout approach in September with the remaining locations. A high priority for both companies is coverage, and looking into different communities and additional markets.

That being said, the family diner franchise is not limiting itself to DoorDash. No exclusivity contracts with the company have been signed at this point, according to Dean Scott, and the restaurant, mainly located in rural areas, will be looking to fill those gaps.

“The goal for us is coverage, so we’ll be looking at how we can utilize potential new partners to increase that coverage,” she said.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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