Yesterday, with a pending new addition to the family I was asked to go dig out the books that I have safely tucked away from my childhood. One Ladybird book I loved from the age of three or four was Chicken Licken and will take top shelf placement in the new nursery.

But this got me thinking as I smiled reading through the fable. The basic plot involves Chicken Licken meeting a variety of other birds, one by one, as he rushes on his way. He tells them individually not to go into the wood, explaining, “As I was travelling, the sky fell on my head and I am going to tell the King.”

The terrifying news is passed on without question and no-one takes a step back to think about the likelihood of this being true! It ends on the sombre note of all the birds’ deaths having trusted Foxy Loxy to help them.

The panic-struck takeaway industry may become the unsuspecting victim of Foxy Loxy. The reasoning of the fable is, do not believe everything you are told.

3rd party delivery apps reduce queues, but at what cost?

For the fish and chip shop or traditional walk in Saturday night takeaway, drastic measures such as joining 3rd party delivery apps were advertised as the answer to the specific challenges COVID brought.

Trying to manage queues outside the premises is quite something, as are frustrated customers. The weather was nice, and I personally felt like I was doing my part in supporting local business owners. The wait was tolerable and well worth it for my favourite battered cod and chips. Yet 3rd party delivery apps told customers that going out just wasn’t worth it. So they aggregated independents and charged 20%+ for the privilege.

App advertising ROI sits firmly with the apps (and the apps only)

It really is a case of the chicken and egg: the more independents that are on an app, the more customers are convinced it’s easier to just hop on and place an order. The more customers use the app, the more the independent feels the need to be included.

Spectacular TV advertising campaigns with celebrities from 3rd party delivery apps were designed to persuade customers and business that apps were truly the top dog. The millions spent on marketing was a worthwhile investment and the ROI undoubtedly off the scale. But ROI for who?

I am one of those people (I will add not as a child) that asks, even if Chicken Licken and his friends had reached the King without falling into Foxy Loxy’s trap, what would the King have done or said?

For starters as a wise ruler of his domain, I am sure he would have told the birds to look up.

Looking up here means understanding that none of that advertising ROI was helping independents; in fact the opposite. Keep reading to find out why.

Your customer is king – treat them as such

Remember, your customer signed up to an app and agreed to their terms, not yours. You have no control over revenue or your customers’ experience and when it does go pear shaped, you the owner gets the raw end of the deal and the financial impact to boot.

You may have discovered that you can’t call the customer from the order details but the driver can. This is probably not the sales pitch Foxy Loxy gave, is it?

This is how they tell you to look up

The rise in affordable next gen tech continues to open-up a whole new dimension for the independent. The ability to reach out to your customer is critical to sustainability and to taking back control of your business.

For a fraction of the 20%+ fees you are paying, you can ‘design your own Just Eat’ and regain full control over your business.

Reach out to your local community. Find out how they would like to support you and ask them outright: what don’t they like? You may be surprised by some of the answers, but at least they will be honest. Ask them why they want to buy from you and what could you do to make their experience with you even better.

Then put the tech and changes in place to offer what Just Eat can, but at a fraction of the price. Your customers will love you all the more as you offer both a better price and experience than a 3rd party delivery app ever could.

Year on year profit reports delivery app providers.