TECH ROUNDUP: THE CASE FOR GOOGLE ORDERING

I have written frequently about Google ordering over the past year or so. I thought it would be one of the biggest trends of 2021, and at the end of the year I was a bit surprised that I wasn’t hearing more about it. 

The feature added in 2018 allows customers to order from a restaurant within Google’s search engine or maps. Those orders have lower fees than third-party delivery and restaurants get to keep all the customer data. In my opinion, it’s one of the best channels for getting new customers and adding incremental sales, because a lot of people already use Google to search for restaurants.

Sterling Douglass, CEO of software provider Chowly, agrees. Earlier this month, he published a blog post titled “Why any restaurant not on Google ordering is making a mistake.”

He lays out a strong argument for integrating your restaurant with Google (a process that can be simplified by companies like Chowly, Olo and ChowNow). He also points out that Google has different motives than the typical third-party aggregator: It simply wants people to keep using Google, and is not looking to take money from restaurants or really have a relationship with them at all.

Since partnering with Google over the summer, it has become Chowly’s fourth highest-volume ordering channel after the big three delivery companies, Douglass wrote. And in a followup post on LinkedIn, Douglass shared data from a restaurant showing Google was its most profitable channel—besting even first-party—because it generates higher tickets with lower commissions (Chowly charges 5% per order).

With all that in mind, turning on Google ordering continues to look like a no-brainer for restaurants.

Waitr got a delisting warning from Nasdaq. The small delivery company’s stock has been trading below $1 for more than a month, a violation of Nasdaq’s listing rules. It has 180 days to get its stock above $1 for 10 consecutive business days, or risk being kicked off the exchange, according to an SEC filing.

The warning comes after the Lake Charles, La.-based company announced plans to get into cannabis delivery and rebrand as ASAP. But Waitr’s stock has been trading in the single-digits for a few years, and the recent dip coincides with a decline in food delivery stocks overall.

Workplace food company Sharebite signed a deal with a big NYC landlord. It has an agreement to become the exclusive office meal provider at Vornado’s 33 buildings, which cover more than 20 million square feet of Manhattan office space. 

Employers can offer Sharebite as a way for workers to order lunch from a selection of restaurants. Batches of meals are dropped off at Sharebite Stations in the lobby, or, in Vornado’s case, on each floor. The deal should provide a big boost for Sharebite, which raised $15 million in May.

7Eleven launched a delivery subscription. With the 7Now Gold Pass, customers can get 7-Eleven products—including hot food like pizza—delivered with no fees. They’ll also get free items on orders over $10 and will double their loyalty points. The pass costs $5.95 a month. The c-store giant is a restaurant competitor with both its hot food menu and its Laredo Taco Co. concept in some locations. This value-driven delivery program could help it move further into restaurants’ off-premise turf.

Slice hired a former Google leader as chief product officer. Peter Chane spent the last 19 years at Google in project management and business development roles. At Slice, he will help the company continue to develop hardware and software for independent pizzerias. The fast-growing company has raised more than $125 million to date.

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