Hearty schnitzel specialities at the Ludenberger in Düsseldorf or vegan cakes at the Café-Bistro Blattgold in Kiel – as much as their menus may differ, the 2 businesses have one challenge in common: the pandemic is forcing them to set up collection and pickup services so they can continue to offer high-quality, delicious meals to their customers. At the same time, processes need to be simplified to keep their businesses as economical as possible despite the difficult circumstances. This is where digital tools can help.
Being unable to welcome diners, many restaurateurs have had to develop new delivery and takeaway services to compensate for lost sales. Like the rest of the hospitality industry, the Ludenberger and Café Blattgold are depending on digital solutions more than ever before during the continuing lockdown. ‘The pandemic has hit us hard. We have to keep fighting for our business. In the hospitality industry, we can only survive the crisis with our pickup and takeaway business. We are very grateful for the opportunity digital solutions such as DISH Order have given us to keep serving our customers,’ says Georgios Blatsas, owner of the Ludenberger restaurant in Düsseldorf.
Orders that don't depend on delivery services
METRO'S tech unit, Hospitality Digital, has developed DISH Order especially for the hospitality industry: this digital product integrates an ordering function into the existing restaurant website. Customers can place their orders with the restaurant via the website. Restaurateurs can prepare meals for pickup or offer their own delivery service, making them more flexible and independent of other delivery services.
‘Our customers can order their favourite meal for home delivery at the click of a button on our website. It's simple and convenient for customers and, what's more, straightforward for me as a restaurateur,’ says Blatsas. ‘The order comes straight from my printer with the delivery address and the ordered meals. It's much less work for me than with a telephone order, for example.’ For a one-off connection fee and a fixed monthly charge – without commission – restaurants receive an ordering page linked to their own website.
Vincent Töpsch, who runs Café Blattgold in Kiel, is also convinced by DISH Order. A collaboration with Google enables additional range. In future, customers will be able to find the direct order option in their Google search or, potentially, also in Google Maps. Customers choose their meal on the ordering page – at Café Blattgold, for example, this could be a burger with additional requests such as extra cheese, jalapeños and chips.
Charge per month rather than per meal
Before things are up and running, the team at DISH Order takes care of the entire process: configuration and setup of the menu, account and ordering terminal. ‘It's a great help because it brings in revenue,’ says Töpsch. ‘And because it saves money: with other providers, we would have to pay 10% or more per order just for using the platform.’ The Blattgold now receives over 40% of its orders online; the rest comes in by phone. DISH Order costs €49 a month (in Germany - prices may vary per country). That means it’s worthwhile for Café Blattgold from an order volume of around €500 a month: ‘We save several hundred euros every month because we don't have to pay commission. We're glad that we can calculate with a fixed price and no-one is taking a cut from every single order,’ says Töpsch. ‘The system has really paid off for us and puts us in a good position.’
The Ludenberger has made a name for itself in Düsseldorf as the place to go for Greek-German food. According to Georgios Blatsas, it is this combination of the 2 types of national cuisine that makes the Ludenberger so popular among its customers. ‘The demand for schnitzel and Schumacher Alt on draught is just as high as that for the gyros platter and various Mediterranean starters with Greek wine.’ Blatsas, who also uses the DISH reservation tool, tells us that everything tastes particularly good at the restaurant itself, on the large terrace for example, where his customers love to sit in summer. And so he hopes ‘that our customers can come to the restaurant again some time soon.’ Despite the crisis he remains optimistic, ‘that before this year is out we are all less concerned about the pandemic and more concerned with getting on with our lives and enjoying ourselves.’