Newspapers Partner With Allmenus.com for Online Food Orders

Allmenus.com, the online ordering portal with 255,000 restaurant menus around the country and 3,500 online ordering relationships, will focus on specific local markets via a new partnership program that gives a portion of revenues to newspapers or other local promotional partners.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is live, and other newspapers and local media companies are anticipated as partners in coming months. Allmenus.com is the second brand from parent company Dotmenu.com. The original brand was Campusfood.com, which brings online ordering to college students.

Allmenus’ media partnerships involve co-branding and promotional advertising, potentially including display, direct, e-mail and social media. They also involve contextual integrated content. While they notably don’t involve the papers in sales, the papers receive a minority share of local market revenues. Revenues are derived from online food ordering, advertising and monthly maintenance fees.

Allmenus Chief Revenue Officer Tony Wills, a former exec with Quigo, Newsday and R.H. Donnelley, says the company determined that local markets had to be launched one at a time to be truly successful — even though it has good distribution via Google and Yahoo Local. Newspapers still have the online brand and promotional power to best drive local awareness and sales, he says, despite their drop-offs in penetration and usage. Newspapers also appreciate Allmenus as a “content” service since it strives to have the most comprehensive set of menus in each market — something it handles with local feet on the street, and fly-in teams.

Under terms of the partnerships, Allmenus widgets for online ordering will be featured in specific contextual parts of newspaper sites, including sports, local, weather and business. While it would seem to make sense to have newspapers also handle local sales, Wills says that it wouldn’t really work because newspaper sales staffs are paid on commissions.

A primary reason it wouldn’t work is that Allmenus takes no money upfront. Instead, it charges a transaction fee that is a little over 10 percent.  It takes 11.5 percent, or $5.75, out of a $50 order, for instance. “If there is no revenue, there is no sale,” says Wills.

In any case, newspapers may have trouble committing the resources in today’s environment. “Newspapers are under siege,” says Wills. “They can’t commit the resources. They need it to be turn-key.”

There is a role for newspaper sales reps, however — to build awareness for the Allmenus service. “It makes the print sale” for restaurants more valuable because of added awareness and usage, says Wills. Indeed, online ordering is a big piece of the restaurant landscape. Pizza Hut is getting 30 percent of its sales online. Moreover, online boosts the amount of sales — online orders are 10 percent higher than in-person orders because it is so easy to check off additional or more expensive items. Ultimately, however, it is a different ballgame than brand and awareness advertising.

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