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How To Rank Higher on Delivery Apps Without Paid Ads

Would you recommend someone for a job if they're known for often being late, not doing what they're expected to do, and most people don't have nice things to say about them? No, right? Delivery apps wouldn't either. It reflects poorly on their platform. They like reliable restaurants that make them look good.


Much like Google, delivery apps such as Uber Eats, GrubHub, and Doordash have specific metrics they look for before suggesting a restaurant to a customer on their App search results. Here's a list of what we know greatly impacts search results within their apps:

  1. Prep Time It's simple. The quicker an order takes to be ready, the better. In today's world, we are always on the go, and that is why many people opt for the quickest option available. Delivery apps often look to recommend restaurants that take the least amount of time to reach the customer. Either due to the distance or the average prep time. The quicker you are to mark an order ready for pick up, the better. Over time, your customers and the apps will know you can have an order ready much faster than your competition, and this will help your brand get recommended first. Make sure you adjust your prep times in your platform dashboards to a realistic amount of time. You don't want delivery drivers waiting too long for the order, and you want to show customers their food will be ready soon. Ideally, it shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes for your kitchen to prepare an order.

  2. Order Accuracy The last thing anyone wants is to wait for their food delivery only to find that some of the items they were excited about eating are missing. More often than not, kitchens are lacking a strict check system to ensure all items ordered are being placed inside the bag before handing it off to the delivery driver. To help avoid this, it's always a good idea to triple-check your order before closing the bag. Delivery apps like to recommend restaurants that get things right and don't forget dishes. They don't enjoy having to refund the customer (even if it comes out of your pocket.)

  3. Cancellations If you've ever placed an order through a delivery app only to have it canceled moments later, you know how frustrating the experience can be. You've already taken the time to select what you want, input your information and wait for confirmation, only to be told that the restaurant is closed or unable to fulfill your order. While it's understandable that restaurants may need to cancel an order occasionally, this should not happen often. Delivery apps need to trust that orders placed by customers will be fulfilled by your restaurant. This way, customers can be confident that their food will arrive as expected and restaurants can avoid losing business.

  4. Ratings Delivery apps like to recommend restaurants that have great ratings and reviews. In a big way, this reflects on them as well. Delivery apps don't like showing restaurants with poor reviews that people just don't seem to enjoy. They want to have restaurants on their platform that people love and order often from. Also, It's important to encourage customers to leave reviews after they've ordered from you. You can do this by sending them an email or text message after their order has been delivered, reminding them to leave a review if they enjoyed their meal. You could also include information about how to leave a review on your receipts or menus. The key is to make it easy for customers to leave reviews so that they're more likely to actually do it.

  5. Photos Another thing that delivery apps take into account when determining rankings is whether or not restaurants use pictures. That's because pictures help increase customer engagement, which in turn leads to more orders. So if you haven't already, start adding great pictures of your food to your menus. Customers will appreciate it, and it could lead to a bump in your ranking.

  6. Keywords Just like with any other type of marketing, using relevant keywords is essential for ranking higher on delivery apps. Make sure to include relevant keywords in your restaurant's name, description, and menu items. Doing your research to find out what keywords are being used most frequently by customers can give you a big advantage over your competition.


If we have to boil it all down to two simple keywords, what delivery apps look for when suggesting a restaurant to their customers, are Reliability and Consistency. They want to suggest restaurants that have orders ready on time, that don't cancel orders after being accepted, and of course, that people love and come back to! The better your business operations and customer satisfaction are, the more likely delivery apps will recommend your business to their audience.


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