This is sadly a statement I have to deal with quite often. As a restaurant and takeaway marketer based in the UK, I have helped over 40 companies so far escape from the horrendous damage Just Eat can do to businesses, repairing the damage, and helping them to overcome financial issues caused by Just-Eat!
Many people have asked me over the years: Why is Just-Eat bad for my business? This is a long and complicated question with a multitude of answers, the two most powerful, I shall address here. At the end of this article, I will be posting a link which will contain a lot of information I have worked hard on which will help you with your business. All of this information is, and always will be 100% free, and will be added to when I’ve got the time. If you already know the damage Just-Eat does and are experiencing it, reading the information I have gathered over the last 3 years may well help save your business. I will also include three things you can do to reduce the damage Just-Eat is doing to your business.
Firstly, they compete with your business for customers on Google. This is bad for a variety of reasons for any company that has their own website. Usually businesses like Restaurants and Takeaways will have their own inbuilt ordering system on their website, usually paid for and maintained at a cost.
Just-Eat will actively pay to be on top of the search engine, using Google ads to place their company above you for your company’s name. They do this in the name of eliminating the competition, however what is actually going on is far more sinister.
As you will no doubt know, a vast amount of the money that you make from your Just-Eat sales will be chunked out of your paycheck by Just-Eat at the end of the month. This money is a fat percentage of your profit and can range from £4.00 per sale to a much higher number on large sales.
Your business name in a local setting is going to have a considerably low search volume in most cases, and most people searching for a restaurant or takeaway are looking to buy food online, or to book a table. Because of the low area search volume, Just-Eat will not have to pay a lot per person that clicks on their adverts.
The problem with this is that everyone clicking on your business and looking specifically is regarded as a ‘hot lead’ – in marketing this means that they have a good chance of buying from you as soon as they click on the advert. So effectively anyone looking for you will most likely be interested in buying food. What makes this doubly disgusting is that ads can be set between specific hours as well which will increase Just-Eat’s chance of making a sale and it means their risk factor is zero.
Effectively, Just-Eat can farm your customers directly off of Google and they do this regularly to all of the users out there. Google my Business can also play a part by Just-Eat having their ordering system added to it so when people search for you they can order directly from Just-Eat, and often you may find they have priority over your own ordering system. This means Just-Eat don’t even have to pay a penny when they profit from these clicks on their link.
So what does this mean? Just-Eat is paying a few pennies to be the middleman in a sale in which you then pay them a huge chunk of money to sell your own food, not only that, they are taking customers from you who are interested in buying from you, not from Just-Eat. So they are literally competing with your business, and making a huge profit every time someone buys.
If you think Just-Eat will compete with terms like: Restaurants in #yourcityname you are wrong. Go to Google and have a little look at what happens when you look for your company or your competition when it comes to the times when you are open. You can also check when you are closed and you will find the ads mysteriously vanish.
There is also the chance that people will find these ads on days you are not open. These potential customers will then be taken to a page on which they cannot order because your business is closed.
Let’s say I want to order a Chinese meal, but I don’t have the ability to, because my favorite Chinese in Colchester, China City is closed. So I go through to their page which is marked as closed, and think: Well I’m going to have a Chinese whatever happens. Thankfully I’m on Just Eat, so I can order from Happy Wok instead. When it comes, I’m so enamoured by their flavours that I end up ordering again from Happy Wok in the future because I associate the name with the place being open, or maybe they do something better. (To be honest I can’t think of a Chinese that does anything better than China City, but you never know!) In this scenario, China City might have lost a customer permanently. If I order chinese 3 times a month, that could be £90.00 a month they’re down, (sans the 20% cut Just-Eat will take!)
Secondly, your costs are going up. This is going to hurt you and hurt your customers for a variety of reasons. You are now spending money to get customers on board through Just-Eat. At a whopping high percentage per paying customer, you will find that the profits you once made are now going to have an adverse effect on your income.
Most businesses will compensate for this problem by doing two things: Firstly they will increase the prices of their food. This is actually a huge issue because it is really off putting to customers and it reduces the amount of times they will willingly order in a month. Secondly, they will reduce the quality of their food by buying cheaper ingredients. This is usually countered by an influx of MSG and other salts to the food to keep it ‘tasty’. It’s not a good way to operate and usually results in customers complaining or leaving the restaurant or takeaway in search of greener pastures.
The problem with increasing the prices is more than just skin-deep. The restaurant or takeaway has to reflect the price change in each and every single meal on their website and on their menus, or you are in breach of Just-Eat’s contract. They will only allow an increase in cost if the cost increase is uniform to your company. This means customers will no longer prioritise your website or menu if it’s located elsewhere, because most of them are used to buying from Just-Eat.
There are three ways to handle Just-Eat
1: You can put a special menu in each and every delivery bag which offers a 10-15% discount off all food orders via website/telephone. This will still mean you are paying more, but people will enjoy saving the money. You can also offer free desserts or drinks if customers call in to order which is a great selling point. (*This is based around the fact that whilst food is cheaper, it takes time, manpower etc to cover food, whereas drink is cheap! – More information on this in my guide!
2: You can set up your own Google ads and compete with Just-Eat. They are not hard to compete with as they offer only a little money insofar as competition goes. Whilst it’s a little costly, every ad payment is a business expense. You might as well compete with your rivals locally too for their names whilst you’re at it. Make sure the ads go to your ordering page, not your main website, as you don’t want to make things too complicated for people. Just keep it really simple.
3: You can run Facebook campaigns that basically do the same thing. You will find that increasing your audience on Facebook will really help you sell more products. Post well and regularly. More information in the guide!
I hope this has been useful to you! If you are thinking of leaving Just-Eat, they will compete with you for a while, and you can argue with their support team that they are committing fraud and impersonating your business in their ads if they don’t take them down. They will listen if you are no longer a member. I hope this helps!
I am the CEO of Fantasoft an up and coming digital marketing firm based in the UK. I work as a blogger, SEO specialist and Web Designer, and my hobbies include making small films and writing music.