Industry News | May 31, 2013 | QSR Exclusive Brief

Online Ordering Platform Keeps It All In The Community

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One growing company, OrderUp, is trying to become a restaurateur’s hometown hero—when it comes to online ordering, at least.

The platform, which aims to connect restaurants with customers in their local markets to encourage online ordering, works in a unique way: through a franchising model.

OrderUp franchisees recruit local restaurants as partners, creating their own local website that compiles the menus of each community partner. Franchisees also help restaurant partners with local marketing and building a social media following.

“Our distribution model is based on a franchise opportunity, where we actually look to partner with local franchisees in local hometowns across the country, with the core benefit being that these local franchisees are in the hometowns, are understanding the consumers, are understanding the opportunities that those local restaurants are trying to tap into as well,” says Chris Jeffery, founder of OrderUp.

“We’ve had tremendous success because these [quick-serve] restaurants are looking for ways to get their name out there or their new menu or product or their new special," he adds.

With franchisees in more than 23 markets across the country—and plans to grow to 50 markets by the end of the year—OrderUp’s hyper-local approach to online ordering is helping drive online orders, ticket prices, and repeat orders for its restaurant partners, Jeffery says.

He says franchisees’ interest in the success of their local restaurant partners is at the core of the business’s success so far.

“From the [quick-serve] perspective, they really like working with our local franchisees because our local franchisees aren't just necessarily signing them up for online food ordering,” Jeffery says. “They’re also partnering with them, and our franchisees have a vested interest in the long-term success of the online food ordering market in their hometown and their hometown only.”

OrderUp franchisees earn commission from each online order a customer makes with a restaurant partner through the local OrderUp site, meaning they have a vested interest in helping build the restaurants’ online business and fan base.

The fact that local franchisees are also just that—local—means they are better able to understand the hometown market, Jeffery says.

“If you’re trying to manage that relationship from 500 or 1,000 miles away, you’re not going to have that constant pulse. You’re also not going to be able to provide that feedback to that restaurant of what you hear in the market, what’s going on, what people are ordering, and why they’re ordering that,” he says. “So it’s being fresher and more up to date with what’s going on in that local community from a marketing perspective, from a content perspective, from a content management perspective.”

Restaurant partners can also turn to their local OrderUp franchisee for help with marketing a new product, promotion, or menu.

“It’s our goal with our franchisees … to have a vested interest in the success of each local restaurant, so it’s a true partnership and not kind of a one-off relationship where you might hear from them once a year or once a quarter. You hear from them daily or weekly to make sure that they’re really benefiting from the relationship with OrderUp.”

And because OrderUp aggregates all local restaurant partners’ menus in one place, Jeffery says finding menus and placing online orders is easier for the customer, causing them to make repeat orders.

“Through our aggregation of these restaurants in one consolidated website where people can go to in that hometown and place an order, we’ve increased the number of transactions that each consumer typically would do on a weekly or monthly basis, because it’s much easier to find and order food, as opposed to going to each individual restaurant website,” he says.

By Mary Avant