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Author Ditsa Keren
Ditsa Keren
Updated on Nov 22nd, 2022
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Alejandro Etchegoyen, Founder & CEO of Waitry, expounds on the benefits of digitizing restaurant and food chain services

What led you to start Waitry, and how has it evolved since?

Waitry was started in 2014 as an experimental challenge to cut back on the long delays often experienced in restaurant service. It can take up to 5 minutes to get the menu, another 10 to order, 15 minutes to be served, not to mention an additional 15 minutes to get the bill.  

We thought the time was right to apply technology to ordering and in-room interaction in restaurants. 

The first version of Waitry was based on an app that allowed clients to see the menu, call the waiter and request the bill. At the time there were a handful of companies developing solutions of this type world-wide, so everything had yet to be tried and tested. 

Over time we upgraded the platform, offering clients the possibility to order and pay the bill in seconds without downloading an app. We added takeaway and delivery orders and

directly integrated more than 40 gastronomic software and delivery companies. The end result was a complete restaurant digitalization structure, including more than 20 tools to increase sales in less time. 

The constraints of the pandemic called for and enabled the digitization and implementation of tools like Waitry. This allowed us to cement our project as a key survival tool. Today we are almost back to normal so the venture is becoming more profitable.

Who are your typical customers? What kind of solutions do you provide to resolve their challenges?  

Our typical clients are restaurant chains, ranging from 5 to hundreds of branches. When a restaurant expands to become a company with subsidiaries, profitability takes center stage, customer service and sales KPIs start to be measured, marketing is enhanced and the technology enabling the upgrade becomes pivotal.  

With Waitry, we help restaurants set up their own online sales channel, including table service, counter sales, takeaway and home delivery. We help avoid errors and unnecessary delays to 

almost zero, and save them thousands of euros in staff optimization, thanks to our process automations. 

Nowadays, restaurants depend on marketplaces for delivery. With Waitry, they can connect their online store to Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp Business and Google, allowing their clientele to order directly, saving up to 95% on their online sales costs.

Please describe some examples of how your products and services helped increase sales and improve customer experience…

Our order and pay at table platform and convenient tools for ordering, upselling and cross-selling have led to sales increases of up to 70% on the average ticket. At Waitry, the account remains open until the client is ready to pay. So,unlike other platforms, he or she may continue adding to the order, instead of declining coffee and dessert to avoid additional service delays. In many cases, table rotation increases by up to 20%. Many more customers are served simultaneously without the need to hire additional staff. 

Regarding delivery and takeaway, Waitry is linked directly to delivery platforms, thus providing the experience of a mainstream marketplace, while charging commissions of 1.5% and not the outrageous up to 45% charged by some venues.This saves restaurants hundreds of euros per month in staff time. Orders enter automatically into the management software. Delivery is ordered automatically by Waitry. This simplifies the restaurant’s operation to three basic steps: receiving the order and payment, preparing the product and dispatching it to the carrier.

How do you envision the future of the foodservice industry? 

In my opinion, there's a trend towards developing personalized client service, offering options to diners with dietary constraints, tastes and allergies that limit food and beverage consumption. 

Marketplace delivery became a monopole and is exorbitantly expensive for restaurants. Delivery companies applied an overly aggressive business model to gain ground. Today, years later, they must increase profits by boosting commissions, service and delivery charges to diners. This negatively influences restaurant margins to a minimum (or to a negative). 

I believe that this trend will normalize to allow restaurants to increase turnover, while offering clients personalized and speedy service.

The digitization of table service, takeaway and delivery is here to stay.The pandemic certainly accelerated the process. But diner convenience, cost effectiveness and increased sales have opened the eyes of the entire sector, which in many places continues to be managed with a pencil and a notebook. 

The boom of digital menus has led to the emergence of countless companies.The latter jumped on the opportunity to offer digital service at restaurant tables. This digital know-how improves the experience of dining out and builds customer loyalty.

Is there anything else you would like to talk about?

It is pivotal to expand digital transformation in the food service industry, as well as provide guidance and training to all parties in the field.

The food industry is made up of both professionals and inexperienced entrepreneurs. Some have a dream to open a bar, a restaurant or a family eatery. Oftentimes, they have no training and are unfamiliar with technology. We, at Waitry, must serve as facilitators. Our service not only provides clients with a platform. We also support them through the digitization process and teach them how to use this technology to build profitable businesses, based on customer loyalty.

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