Campus restaurant turns Grubhub drivers into customers 

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The Daily Illini File Photo

The exterior of The Bread Company is pictured above. The restaurant has been utilizing curbside pickup.

By Chieh Hsu, Staff Writer

As restaurants offer limited dining options amid COVID-19, it becomes difficult for them to recruit new customers. What is more, due to a big portion of customers opting to order through delivery apps, restaurants experience a setback in making a profit. In face of these obstacles, The Bread Company came up with a great strategy to benefit from the situation. 

Derrick Aikman is the owner of The Bread Company, a European eatery on 706 S. Goodwin Ave. According to him, delivery applications charge his business 30% of each order for the service. Instead of raising the price of each dish, Aikman decided to set the same price whether his customers choose to call in or order online.

“I’m just happy that [our product] is reaching people that may not want to leave the house,” Aikman said. “I wouldn’t want to put a higher price on it to pressure the customers to offset that 30%.”

According to Aikman, 20% of the orders are placed through delivery apps, while the rest of his customers prefer call-in curbside pickup. The applications they use are Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats. 80% of the online orders go through GrubHub. 

To offset the fee charged by the delivery apps, which amounts to 6% of the restaurant’s income, Aikman decided to turn Grubhub drivers into his customers. 

“Quite honestly, what I’ve done is that sometimes I’ll just offer some of our dishes to our Grubhub drivers, and they like our food so much they end up just coming back, ordering their own food,” Aikman said. “They order from us, and they just get it when they pick up [other customers’ orders].”

Aikman explained that the essence of his idea is to “get to know some of these drivers and look at them more as local supporting people” as opposed to people who just come in and take the 30% from him.

“This happened the other day when I showed a driver our sandwich and said ‘Hey man, have you ever tried this before?’” Aikman said. “He said no and I gave it to him, and the next thing you know, he was just loving it. He came back and picked up two, one to bring to his mom. This is about how to create relationships that will help to grow, and that really seems to work.” According to Aikman, he “almost turns them into customers and that kinda wipes out the 30%.”

Aikman plans to reopen his store for indoor dining after all his employees have received the vaccine for COVID-19.

“We are feeling optimistic, as a lot of people are. Just being cautiously optimistic,” Aikman said. 

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