Tips for Choosing an IFSI (Internet Food Service Intermediary)
Home kitchen, home food entrepreneurs love cooking but getting a home food business going takes more than cooking. The business needs to attract and engage customers, have channels of interaction with them and of course take orders and process payment, refund for non-delivery and so on.
That is quite a bit of Information Technology to string together.
If the entrepreneur can set it all up and have time to manage it operationally, the question to consider of course, is that, is it the best thing to focus on. Different entrepreneurs may have different opinions about it. For those who want to follow 80-20 rule and focus on their expertise of cooking and engaging the customers, it would serve well to choose a perfect partner to team up with.
This article explores important factors to consider for choosing the perfect partner.
As a business owner, you want your IFSI partner to add significant value to your enterprise. Here are the areas your IFSI can bring value to you.
Full Coverage of Functionality
The intermediary should provide all the IT functionality under one roof so that you do not have to put together solution from multiple vendors. Here is the list of features to consider.
Ease of getting started with a menu
It should be as easy as signing up on a Web app or downloading a smartphone app. Assuming that you have pictures and write ups available for your dishes, getting a menu up should be a very quick affair. In the modest it should take hours or less; certainly not days. And of course should allow later updates to it.
Easy way for consumers to find your business
This one drives your customers to you. The platform should offer flexibility for letting you work on your schedule and give clear indication to the customers about your schedule preferences to avoid any disappointment.
Easy way for consumers to communicate to you
As clearly laid out your menu might be, customers might need additional information from you. The platform should have a communication channel built into it to make that easy.
Order and payment processing
This is obviously a necessary componenent. It should be very easy for customers to pay with credit card and optionally other payment methods.
You want the money you earned in your account as quickly. The platform should have earnings disbursement plant that is fair to you and offers different mechanisms for disbursement.
Statement history and analytics
Once you are in business for some time and have ongoing operations, you would benefit by analyzing the order and revenue patterns. At the least, you should be able to see how well your business has been doing. Better yet, the platform should provide you insights into how you can do better.
Commission / Fees
The intermediary being a for-profit business, is likely to charge a monthly fee or a percentage commission on the revenue. There could be big differences between the intermediary that could directly impact how much you get to keep. You want to keep as much of your hard earned money as possible. Choose the one that lets you keep the most while providing a high quality of services.
With the best of the systems, you might occasionally still run into issues and need help from the intermediary. Partner with the intermediary with good, helpful support
In summary, we believe that home kitchen businesses can leverage an intermediary IFSI to provide IT infrastructure. It would serve the business well to scrutinize the aspects mentioned above for selecting an appropriate IFSI that can become a valuable partner for the long run.
Note: The company I work for, LocalChefs is a registered IFSI.