Using delivery aggregators for their reach is a ‘short-term’ play

Ahsan Kahlon believes you must convert these customers to direct ordering
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Ahsan Kahlon was speaking at the Caterer Middle East Bitesize Conference
Neil Walton
Ahsan Kahlon was speaking at the Caterer Middle East Bitesize Conference

Restaurants using delivery aggregators charging high commissions per order may benefit with an increased reach to customers, but it’s only a viable option in the short term.

That’s the opinion of Ahsan Kahlon, co-founder of Reif Japanese Kushiyaki, who told the Caterer Middle East Bitesize Conference that it’s vital F&B outlets convert these customers into direct ordering.

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Having just started delivery with Reif Japanese Kushiyaki because of the Covid-19 crisis, Kahlon admitted that using an aggregator had its immediate benefits. He said: “We’re a new restaurant with a good following, but not a blanket following, and that’s where the aggregators really help you - they have incredible reach. Yes, you can apply the commission you’re paying each order to your own marketing but it’s hard to get that growth quickly.”

Kahlon said that although he also used ChatFood to promote direct ordering from his outlet, when he added Deliveroo it immediately began “outstripping” the number of direct orders the restaurant received.

“But we’re trying to convert them to our own systems and incentivise them to order direct,” explained Kahlon.

Jaime Castaneda, general manager of 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant, joined Kahlon in extolling the virtues of direct ordering, saying his outlet had launched its own app for direct ordering and was impressed with the amount of incremental income it had generated.

The Tashas Group Natasha Sideris told the audience that she hoped the aggregators would be willing to turn to a tiered percentage model, saying it was unfair that some operators had to pay 30% on a AED100 bill versus 30% on a AED500 cheque that were both going to the same location.

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