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Click2Order delivers savings to restaurants

Friday, October 13, 2023

While the concept is fairly ubiquitous now, online food delivery hadn’t been adopted across the restaurant industry all that much eight or nine years ago. In 2016, roughly 10 per cent of independent restaurants were using online ordering services like DoorDash or Skip the Dishes. When the pandemic hit and restaurants were forced to adopt takeout and delivery-only models, high service fees dealt an additional blow to an industry already operating on razor-thin margins.

Click2Order was created in 2015 as a Cape Breton software company providing local restaurants with digital solutions to be more competitive and to help save them money.

“Something we learned through early adopters and a lot of rejection was that our missing piece was delivery. It seems obvious now where the market has grown substantially,” said Matt Stewart, co-founder and CEO of Click2Order. “I noticed I could go on some franchise websites and place an order but not at local spots. At the time, Shopify was growing quickly and becoming popular with local retailers. I thought, ‘Why can't there be a Shopify for restaurants?’ That’s where the original idea came from.”

After expanding across Atlantic and Western Canada in 2017, Stewart and the team began looking at how they could build delivery into the business model without the expense of creating new fleets. That's when the company started partnering with local existing fleets, such as taxi and delivery companies.

“A lot of restaurants that said no to us said they'd love a more economical option, but if you don't have delivery, it's pointless. Once we did some minor tweaks to our system to automate communicating deliveries to our fleet partners, we could offer that similar experience the restaurants wanted and still save them substantial money.”

Partnering with a company in Moncton, Click2Order brought a group of restaurant operators together during the pandemic to offer a solution to help save on fees, as COVID was costing some restaurants $200K or more a year to third party apps.

“Initially, we planned on offering the white label or Shopify model, but we noticed we were having trouble getting volume. First, we started introducing brands like CB Eats as a SMS marketing campaign to help drive traffic to our restaurant partners’ website and apps. We saw some immediate uptick in orders from this. Eventually it led to building a landing page for all our partners in each area, which grew into the delivery apps we use today.”

The original Eats delivery brands, CB Eats, Truro Eats, Hali Eats, etc., have since been rebranded to Chews Local. While the Chews Local brand began as a partnership and separate company, Click2Order eventually took over the brand, bringing all the Eats apps under one umbrella.

“We use technology in every aspect of our business. This includes everything from customer support to tracking internal projects. Our customer support team is second to none. We rely heavily on chat support tools and fast response times, often in less than 60 seconds. When you’re servicing delivery customers, every second matters. The faster we can help resolve an issue, the more likely the customer is to come back and tell their friends about the positive experience. We operate internally on a motto of it might not be our fault, but it's our problem.”

“COVID was a major blow and restaurants are still feeling it. It changed consumer behaviour at a speed unheard of. All signs were pointing to online ordering accounting for 50 per cent of restaurant revenue by 2024. We have already blown past that for some segments of the market. Restaurants are still facing significant cost increases in labour, food costs, inflation, etc. This is squeezing their margins even tighter. We don't believe a third-party delivery app should be causing restaurants to lose money.”

Stewart believes lower costs and a strong network of people willing to help and who want you to succeed are just some of the perks of doing business in Cape Breton. And while there were times when he felt like it would be more advantageous to be in a larger city, once the company learned how to sell remotely, Cape Breton made the most sense.

“Folks like Bob Pelley have been a champion of the Cape Breton start-up scene and without him, it’s likely there wouldn't be one. When I first started pondering the idea, I went to see him and showed him my really terrible WordPress version of plugins and said I have this idea but need a developer. Bob told me to come out to the next TecSocial event he was hosting and introduced me to Roby Myers, who became a co-founder in the company. To this day, we rely on Bob for advice, help, guidance – you name it, we've asked him. It takes a village to raise a start-up and he's the Mayor.”

The next step for Click2Order revolves around continuing to expand and scale. But if you’re a beer lover waiting for a ‘Booze Local’ delivery option perhaps, it may not be in the cards just yet.

“You wouldn't believe the requests we get for alcohol delivery!” Stewart laughs. “In Alberta, third party alcohol is allowed, and we have done it. Our next big expansion is happening now with a primary focus on Ontario and the Eastern USA. We have been working on several partnerships with last mile providers to help us scale quickly. This goes back to the early days of working with existing fleets, but on a much faster scale. We have saved restaurants over $2 million in fees since COVID. We want to keep growing that number at a much faster rate.”