“We’re Just Built Different Like That”
How Valley Eats Puts a Local Spin on Third-Party Delivery Services.
The recent rollback of the Ottawa Region into a modified stage 2 has caused some concern in the Ottawa Valley. As restaurants in Ottawa were forced back to a strict take-out and patio-dining model, the impending winter months have left many local businesses unsure of their future survival, even though indoor dining has since resumed. This same unease, at the very least, is being felt by local restaurants in the Valley. With this reality upon us, Doug Ford has urged food delivery services to “do their part” by slashing fees. This call has labelled not just the big food delivery services, but all of us in a negative light. And we get it. We understand the public’s cries to shop local, support local, and save local and in turn hold accountable those that stand in their way of doing it.
We get it because we are local. We were just two guys, who started a local, Valley-based business, to serve our local communities. We want to assure our customers and our restaurants that our service is built with them in mind and that we are here to support our local partners through this pandemic. We want to make sure our partners are thriving, not simply surviving.
However, Doug Ford’s generalized statements around third-party food delivery services have unfairly targeted all businesses that fall in that category. At Valley Eats, we are already making a conscious effort and taking a restaurant-centric approach to our model.
1. We have some of the lowest rates in the industry.
We know that we are approximately 5%-15% cheaper than our big-city counterparts. In other words, we do not participate in the “price-gouging” tactics that often get associated with third-party services and there are no hidden fees to our partners. We’re open and upfront about them.
2. Restaurants have reported increased revenue when using the app.
Doug Ford’s claim that restaurants lose money on each plate sent out the door simply isn’t true for us. In fact, we’ve helped restaurants not just keep their doors open but increase their revenue during the pandemic. East Side Marios in Pembroke, ON has reported their takeout orders have tripled thanks to our service, despite offering their own delivery option in-house.
Sunnyside Up Breakfast Buffet, which opened in March at the start of the Pandemic, claims that our service saved her business. Owner April said, "SunnySideUp opened March 7, 2020, at the time of opening we didn't realize we were walking into the line of fire, with a world pandemic...This app literally saved my business. Although it was a slow few months as everyone was forced to be home with their families cooking home meals, as time went on we began to receive more and more business."
Statistically, we can see that in Pembroke alone, there has been a 100%+ increase in sales overall for our restaurant partners since the beginning of the lockdown to now. And aside from one chain, it’s actually our mom and pop shops that are the most popular and have done the best from a financial standpoint. In other words, more and more local customers are supporting local restaurants through the app.
3. We bring new customers to them.
We’re bringing in new business to our restaurant partners. Through our own marketing efforts, at no cost to our partners, and access to our audience, app users become new customers of many of our local restaurants. We’re therefore not taking away business, but rather bringing new business to them. And in the midst of a pandemic, when people are told to stay home or who are cautious to leave their house, we are often the only way they are able to order from and support local restaurants. This is particularly true since many of our partners do not offer in-house delivery.
4. Approximately 90% of our revenue stays local.
85% of our revenue alone goes back into the hands of restaurant partners. The rest goes to our contract workers, employees, and into other local businesses whom we support. We are proud that we have been able to create 16 permanent jobs in house plus contract out 100+ drivers to help us provide our service. That’s 116+ jobs and contract roles we have been able to provide for our local economy.
We’re not telling you this to brag about how much better we are. We’re telling you this because we want you to know that at the very foundation of Valley Eats is a mission to provide excellent service to our communities and to support Ottawa Valley Restaurants. We started our business as two guys, sitting at a table, dreaming of bringing poutine to the doorsteps of people of the Valley. Our dream now, while it still involves poutine, is much larger. We want to bring a collaborative success model to our restaurant partners and help them grow as we grow so together we can serve more people.
Restaurants Canada estimates that without additional and continued support, approximately 40% of independent restaurants won’t make it to next March. We want to help our restaurant partners as much as possible to ensure that doesn’t happen. Ford’s repeated call to Ontarians to “rally around your small businesses” through the act of takeout is valid. We want to remind you that we are not like big-city delivery services. We can be part of your “support local plan” because we also care about and support local. We’re just “built different”
Ryan and Dan,
Owners and Operators of Valley Eats