After a year of speculation, Facebook has announced the launch of a new feature that will position Facebook as a restaurant partner and could be a revenue driver for both restaurants and food delivery services. According to TechCrunch, last year Facebook announced a deal with online ordering services that would allow Facebook users to place orders through their respective pages and began testing the new feature shortly afterward.
Now that product is officially live. Facebook announced that its order food feature has officially launch in the US. Restaurants who use a supported delivery service will be able to add a "Start Order" button to their Facebook page in order to be listed when a user is looking for something to eat. Restaurants will receive those orders through Delivery.com or Slice (those are the only ones supported at this time). Instructions on deploying this on your Facebook page may be found here.
Facebook is predicted to expand the number of delivery services it uses as well as partner directly with restaurants for takeout orders at some point in the future.
To place an order, users will simply tap "Order Food" in their main menu where they will be able to see their favorite restaurants, restaurants nearby, search for new restaurants, and see highly rated restaurants. After that they choose a restaurant, place their order, and input any additional information needed for delivery. Check out the video below to view the feature's functionality.
Why is Facebook getting into the food ordering business? The answers actually make a lot of sense for both Facebook and restaurants who are trying to drum up new business.
First, Facebook has inadvertently become a common part of the "what do I want to eat now" research process. Consumers visit a restaurant's Facebook page in order to see reviews, photos, and review recent activity. By capitalizing on this traffic, Facebook is able to keep users in the app longer.
Second, the online food ordering business is BIG. Ordering online has become easier and more convenient in recent years due to personal assistants like Amazon's Echo or advances made in app technology- encouraging significant growth in online ordering. In fact, 43% of all delivery orders are placed online and that number is expected to grow as much as 79% in the coming years.
When you think about it, adding a "Start Order" button to restaurant's Facebook pages makes a lot of sense. Facebook is already part of the "what do I want to eat now" research process and there is a growing demand for the combination of delivery and online ordering. While this feature won't be a direct revenue driver, it lines up perfectly with Facebook's ultimate goal of users in their app longer.