The owner of Leaning Tower Pizza & Pasta worked in a pizza restaurant in school many years ago. Leaning Tower is across from where he was working, he loved the food and loved the idea of owning a restaurant – so he bought it.
That was in 2014 and right away wanted to add an online ordering App. There were few options and a cost of $3,500 seemed prohibitive. A startup, Eat24 was calling and offering online ordering for 12%, it seemed like too much money. The sales pitch was, Eat24 will bring in customers we wouldn’t get otherwise, so figuring in costs for labor, rent, and utilities shouldn’t be factored. Those costs are being paid for by the regular customers we already had. Made sense and we signed up. Eat24 brought us many new customers, however after a year or so we began to see many of our regular customers were not ordering directly, but through Eat24. We complained, they gave us an Eat24 link to put our own website, when our customers started their Eat24 order using the link on our website the cost was only a penny. Seemed like a great solution.
Soon we started having problems getting our regular customer to start their Eat24 orders from our website. One regular customer told us that when using the link on our website, Eat24 didn’t remember them. But Eat24 remembered them when they started on the Eat24 App. Eat24 had disabled the autofill feature on the link from our website! Making our customers enter their name, address, phone number and credit card info every time. What a dirty trick! Plus, Eat24 had their information, including emails, we didn't. Eat24 was marketing to our customers, promoting other restaurants and even promoting our competitors - other pizza restaurants! Our customers were now Eat24's customers. We lost control, lost business, all while paying them 12% of the orders. Now the commissions can be as high 34 1/2%. Where did the 12% go?
That was in 2016 and it has been a struggle with the 3rd party Apps ever since. we love the restaurant business and being a small neighborhood restaurant, we know most of our customers and want to keep being a restaurateurs. Postmates and Doordash have not liked some of our marketing and complaints, so they terminated us, just as big corporations do. Like Meg Ryan said in You Got Mail, its personal to me. It's a fight now.
As expected, being removed from these Apps have lowered our order load, but also lowered our costs and we are working less. The part that was most surprising, it has made us more profitable too. That’s a big part of what Curt wants to share with other stores. The fear of losing customers and business kept us on those platforms, kept us in line, being terminated took away our choice and so far it has been great.
We hate how these 3rd parties treat us, treat all restaurants and our customers. We hear their drivers complain and do not like how they stole tips, under pay them and we want to include them in our fight for freedom for them too.
So Join the Resistance, keep making food people like, Mow some Lawns and lets stay in business!
Taking Partners and Donations.
Nothing says we are really serious about Mowing Your Lawn to get customers to stop using 3rd Party Apps than having a Lawn Mower on a table as you enter our store!
We had success with a sign, but the mower has definitely been a next-level conversation starter.
For more than 3 years we tried many things to get customers to order direct. We had very little luck, we pleaded, offered discounts, menu items not available on 3rd party Apps, we offered free food, even knocked on doors and asked in person.
One day out of desperation I told a customer I would Mow His Lawn, it worked and has been working.
All our store menus, graphics and communications have or soon will have a Lawn Mower Icon on it. Our store has it on its entry.
It symbolizes our stores preference to have customers order directly from us and our own online ordering website.
No words needed, the Icon says it all
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