Customer story

Orbital Kitchens Launches In-House Delivery and Expands 300%


Restaurant Delivery, Cloud Kitchen

Above: One of Orbital’s flagship brands, Crumb Cookie.

July 2020­­

Entrepreneur David Richer and his partners wanted to “level up” on the concept of an average cloud kitchen—not just execute on the promise of delicious food, but also on excellent food delivery.

In December, Richer and the Orbital Kitchens team set out to launch a handful of strong restaurant brands in an 8,000-square-foot former food hall near Union Square in Manhattan, with big ambitions such as plans to expand to other Manhattan location by fall.

From the start, they wanted to run their own delivery.

“The whole goal obviously is to get off of the third parties,” Richer said, referring to the third-party apps known for fees that can be upwards of 30 percent per order for delivery and marketing costs.
“The whole goal obviously is to get off of the third parties,” Richer said, referring to the third-party apps known for fees that can be upwards of 30 percent per order for delivery and marketing costs.

Orbital does in-house delivery for many reasons. First, Richer wasn’t satisfied with the way third-party drivers handle their food. Second, it’s faster. And third, it eliminates the portion of the third-party commission fee that is charged for actual delivery, which can be about 10 percent. GetSwift’s software is uniquely built to help restaurants manage in-house delivery.

The Start

The space was in a food hall Greenwich Social Club, which wasn’t as successful as Richer and the team wanted it to be, so they inverted the model: they’d be a big delivery kitchen with a small café upstairs. It turned out, even early on — in December and January — they were doing 60 or 70 percent more business under their new model.

Then, of course, the coronavirus pandemic hit New York in March.

It turned out to be a lucky time for a ghost kitchen to be in business, which Richer acknowledges, although they also had a strong foundation to build from.

“It caused a lot of destruction but also, some diamonds in the rough have arisen,” Richer said.

Saying Goodbye to Third-Party Delivery

Here’s how Orbital took control of their own food delivery: Around March, they opted-in to self-delivery with GrubHub (while staying with Grubhub for marketing). It took a week or so and some back-and-forth from Grubhub to get started. Orbital is also in the process of asking UberEats to do this, while staying on the Uber platform for customer marketing.

It’s only this independence–using their own kitchen expeditor and GetSwift’s software for a birds eye view of their operation–that’s allowed Orbital to both grow orders and handle the volume.

“There would be no way we could handle 700 orders a day, doing a good portion of that in-house, without a platform like GetSwift,” Richer said.

Note: Orbital, for now, wants to be on as many third-party platforms as possible—but to attract customers and orders, just not for the actual delivery if they can avoid it. And, over time, they hope their own marketing campaigns will start to drive customers directly to their own eCommerce site.

Here are just some of the main benefits:

Once they went their own way, they were allowed to choose a larger delivery radius on Grubhub, putting them, according to Richer, high on search results for customers looking to order in neighborhoods they were confident they could deliver with ease. Without this flexibility, they wouldn’t be available to as many customers.

Orbital’s in-house delivery also led to savings. You also choose the fee you want, helping you pay your drivers AND choosing the appropriate fee you think to best sell your food, rather than rely on the third-party-app, which has been subject to fee changes of late in cities like New York, to determine the customer’s fee.

“When we do our own delivery, it’s cheaper for us,” Richer said, especially if it’s a larger order.

Finally, using GetSwift gives Orbital all performance date (delivery time of each ride, driver ratings, driver performance) Richer sees who’s bringing down overall delivery time and who is increasing it. He can ask, “Why was it slower this week? Did we not route it correctly? Was it the kitchen?” And then he can work with the team to improve.

“My recommendation to any restaurant is to figure out how to use your own delivery drivers and to use a software like GetSwift to help you do that. It’s not too difficult, it saves you a lot of money, and it gives you more control over your business. In my mind, it’s a no-brainer.”

“My recommendation to any restaurant is to figure out how to use your own delivery drivers and to use a software like GetSwift to help you do that. It’s not too difficult, it saves you a lot of money, and it gives you more control over your business. In my mind, it’s a no-brainer.”

GetSwift Helps Orbital Kitchens Deliver 300% More, and Growing

The business has grown ahead of schedule, for a lot of reasons. Since Orbital started using GetSwift, average daily deliveries have climbed from 200 to 700, which Richer attributes to three factors.

“Branding and the food are two big pieces…but delivery is the final piece. I would say GetSwift contributed 33 percent to the increase. We’ve seen over a 300% increase in sales since we started using GetSwift.”

Expansion may be next as Richer and the team set to launch even more major brands by the fall, and start a print and digital marketing campaign to draw customers directly to their eCommerce website. There’s more. Look out for another possible “virtual restaurant,” as Richer calls it, to open near Columbia University in the fall, with more locations possibly in the works as well, all with the goal of getting delicious food customers, while the product is still hot and fresh.

At a Glance

Orbital Kitchens, a new cloud kitchen with 10 restaurant concepts, began in a 8,000-square-foot space in Manhattan in December 2019.
They wanted their own delivery fleet for speed and food quality, never wanting to rely on third-party apps to deliver.
Started in-house delivery with GetSwift’s software, a driver fleet, and a kitchen expeditor who has a birds-eye view of all drivers. Soon, customer satisfaction went up.
After 2 months of using GetSwift, daily delivery volume increased by 300 percent, to more than 700 orders.

At a Glance

Orbital Kitchens, a new cloud kitchen with 10 restaurant concepts, began in a 8,000-square-foot space in Manhattan in December 2019.
They wanted their own delivery fleet for speed and food quality, never wanting to rely on third-party apps to deliver.
Started in-house delivery with GetSwift’s software, a driver fleet, and a kitchen expeditor who has a birds-eye view of all drivers. Soon, customer satisfaction went up.
After 2 months of using GetSwift, daily delivery volume increased by 300 percent, to more than 700 orders.
July 2020­­

Entrepreneur David Richer and his partners wanted to “level up” on the concept of an average cloud kitchen—not just execute on the promise of delicious food, but also on excellent food delivery.

In December, Richer and the Orbital Kitchens team set out to launch a handful of strong restaurant brands in an 8,000-square-foot former food hall near Union Square in Manhattan, with big ambitions such as plans to expand to other Manhattan location by fall.

From the start, they wanted to run their own delivery.

“The whole goal obviously is to get off of the third parties,” Richer said, referring to the third-party apps known for fees that can be upwards of 30 percent per order for delivery and marketing costs.
“The whole goal obviously is to get off of the third parties,” Richer said, referring to the third-party apps known for fees that can be upwards of 30 percent per order for delivery and marketing costs.

Orbital does in-house delivery for many reasons. First, Richer wasn’t satisfied with the way third-party drivers handle the food. Second, it’s faster. And third, it eliminates the portion of the third-party commission fee that is charged for actual delivery, which can be about 10 percent. GetSwift’s software is uniquely to help restaurants manage in-house delivery.

The Start

The space was in a food hall Greenwich Social Club, which wasn’t as successful as Richer and the team wanted it to be, so they inverted the model: they’d be a big delivery kitchen with a small café upstairs. It turned out, even early on — in December and January — they were doing 60 or 70 percent more business under their new model.

Then, of course, the coronavirus pandemic hit New York in March.

It turned out to be a lucky time for a ghost kitchen to be in business, which Richer acknowledges, although they also had a strong foundation to build from.

“It caused a lot of destruction but also, some diamonds in the rough have arisen,” Richer said.

Saying Goodbye to Third-Party Delivery

Here’s how Orbital took control of their own food delivery: Around March, they opted-in to self-delivery with GrubHub (while staying with Grubhub for marketing). It took a week or so and some back-and-forth from Grubhub to get started. Orbital is also in the process of asking UberEats to do this, while staying on the Uber platform for customer marketing.

It’s only this independence–using their own kitchen expeditor and GetSwift’s software for a birds eye view of their operation–that’s allowed Orbital to both grow orders and handle the volume.

“There would be no way we could handle 700 orders a day, doing a good portion of that in-house, without a platform like GetSwift,” Richer said.

Note: Orbital, for now, wants to be on as many third-party platforms as possible—but to attract customers and orders, just not for the actual delivery if they can avoid it. And, over time, they hope their own marketing campaigns will start to drive customers directly to their own eCommerce site.
Here are just some of the main benefits:

Once they went their own way, they were allowed to choose a larger delivery radius than Grubhub, putting them, according to Richer, high on search results for customers looking to order in neighborhoods they were confident they could deliver with ease. Without this flexibility, they wouldn’t be available to as many customers.

Orbital’s in-house delivery also led to savings. You also choose the fee you want, helping you pay your drivers AND choosing the appropriate fee you think to best sell your food, rather than rely on the third-party-app, which has been subject to fee changes of late in cities like New York, to determine the customer’s fee.

“When we do our own delivery, it’s cheaper for us,” Richer said, especially if it’s a larger order.

Finally, using GetSwift gives Orbital all performance date (delivery time of each ride, driver ratings, driver performance) Richer sees who’s bringing down overall delivery time and who is increasing it. He can ask, “Why was it slower this week? Did we not route it correctly? Was it the kitchen?” And then he can work with the team to improve.

“My recommendation to any restaurant is to figure out how to use your own delivery drivers and to use a software like GSW to help you do that. It’s not too difficult, it saves you a lot of money, and it gives you more control over your business. In my mind, it’s a no-brainer.”

“My recommendation to any restaurant is to figure out how to use your own delivery drivers and to use a software like GSW to help you do that. It’s not too difficult, it saves you a lot of money, and it gives you more control over your business. In my mind, it’s a no-brainer.”

GetSwift Helps Orbital Kitchens Deliver 300% More, and Growing

The business has grown ahead of schedule, for a lot of reasons. Since Orbital started using GetSwift, average daily deliveries have climbed from 200 to 700, which Richer attributes to three factors.

“Branding and the food are two big pieces…but delivery is the final piece. I would say GetSwift contributed 33 percent to the increase. We’ve seen over a 300% increase in sales since we started using GetSwift.”

Expansion may be next as Richer and the team set to launch even more major brands by the fall, and start a print and digital marketing campaign to draw customers directly to their eCommerce website. There’s more. Look out for another possible “virtual restaurant,” as Richer calls it, to open near Columbia University in the fall, with more locations possibly in the works as well, all with the goal of getting delicious food customers, while the product is still hot and fresh.

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