It's interesting that a pizza delivery company doesn't view the likes of Grubhub or OpenTable as its main competitors. But the company is banking on TripAdvisor to bring even more traffic and sales to its list of 10,000 or so clients.
— Danni Santana
Slice, an online ordering app for pizzerias and small chains, has partnered with TripAdvisor in hopes of raising its visibility with diners and boosting sales for restaurant clients.
The agreement allows pizza lovers in the U.S. to order from a list of nearly 11,000 independent shops in Slice’s network directly through TripAdvisor’s website. Slice’s partners are predominantly mom-and-pop businesses, with a couple of small chains with multiple stores mixed in, according to the company.
Now available in 2,800 U.S. cities, Slice offers marketing, data integration, and online ordering to pizzerias that are notoriously slow to adopt new technologies, said Ilir Sela, company founder and CEO.
“Digital is not a ‘nice to have’ anymore. It is a must have,” he said. “Pizzerias need to shift to digital if they are going to succeed long term.”
TripAdvisor claims a monthly restaurant page visitor count of 200 million worldwide.
Sela said consumers spend $220 billion annually on delivery and takeout, but less than 10 percent of off-premise orders are currently digitized. Slice, however, does not consider delivery companies like DoorDash or Grubhub as its chief competitors. Instead, the company is keen on taking sales away from larger pizza chains, such as Pizza Hut and Domino’s, which do a robust, tech-fueled delivery business. Slice notes that the majority of its partners’ customers are repeat diners, but didn’t disclose any specific data on its own users.
An Expanded Audience?
Slice marks the latest of dozens of restaurant-facing partnerships made by the travel website since 2014, including Grubhub, OpenTable, and Delivery.com in the U.S. and Delivery Hero and Deliveroo in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of restaurants now offer online ordering through TripAdvisor, said Evan Becker, partnerships lead at the company. Built-in APIs with delivery partners let customers order food without leaving the website, if the restaurant is also a partner of the delivery provider.
Sela points to TripAdvisor’s guarantee during negotiations that Slice would become the website’s only pizza delivery partner as a main catalyst for striking the deal. In other words, if a pizza restaurant accepts orders and deliveries via Slice, Slice gets the delivery business from TripAdvisor. Slice charges $1.95 commission per order.
“I’m sure the majority of their volume is still coming from outside the U.S., but if you look closely, TripAdvisor gets a ton of volume here,” said Sela of the site’s domestic market penetration. “There are millions of customers available to us.”
“Our users really care about what we have to say… and Slice has a really great scale of restaurants to work with,” Becker added, citing a recent TripAdvisor list of top pizza restaurants in the U.S.
TripAdvisor’s restaurant commerce business began four years ago with its purchase of reservations company LaFourchette. It has since widened its restaurant-centric offerings, which has paid off in increased revenue for the company. TripAdvisor features more than 52,000 bookable restaurants on the LaFourchette platform, up 18 percent from last year.