Here are a few things to think about before opening your restaurant delivery service. If you're looking for more specific details or need additional help then we suggest joining the RMDA. We have forums, articles, vendor suggestions and a large network of members that can help you start a new business or take your existing business to the next level. 

  • When determining the geography of your RDS, consider the following: demographics of the population, size of the market, density of the population, competition, quantity and quality of restaurants. It's important to ask yourself - what kind of customer base are you looking to serve?
When forming your company there are a few different options available. Each option offers a different set of pros and cons. Contact your local city and state government for more information pertaining to the laws and regulations of your geographic area. You can also find information here at the SBA website. Here are some examples of different kinds of companies:


  • Sole Proprietorship
    A sole proprietorship is the most basic business. You alone own the company and are responsible for its assets and liabilities.
  • Limited Liability Corporation
    An LLC is designed to provide the limited liability of a corporation and tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.
  • Cooperative
    People form cooperatives to meet a collective need or to provide a service that benefits all member-owners.
  • Corporation
    A corporation is more complex and generally suggested for larger established companies with multiple employees.
  • Partnership
    There are several different types of partnerships, which depend on different arrangements and partner responsibilities for the business.
  • S Corporation
    An S corporation is similar to a C corporation but you are taxed only on a personal level.


Make sure you meet your insurance needs. Commercial Business Insurance may not necessarily be required by law, but you would be wise to purchase enough business insurance to protect your assets against unexpected events. In order to determine your exact needs, contact a local insurance agent.


  • General Liability Insurance
    This insurance broadly covers and provides protection against the legal hassles associated with accidents, injuries and negligence claims.
  • Product Liability Insurance
    This insurance protects you against financial loss as a result of product defect that can cause injury.
  • Professional Liability
    If you provide a service to a customer, this insurance can protect against many provisions of those services to your customers.
  • Commercial Property
    This covers everything related to the loss and damage of company property due to a wide variety of events.
  • Home-Based Business
    Homeowners insurance policies do not generally cover home-based business losses. You may need to purchase additional policies.
  • No Insurance
    While this certainly is an option, we can all agree its a VERY BAD OPTION. You shouldn't take the risk with your business.

You will also need to protect your employees

  • Workers Comp Insurance
    Businesses with employees are required to carry Workers Compensation Insurance coverage.
  • Unemployment Insurance
    If you have employees you are required to pay unemployment insurance taxes as determined by your state.
  • Disability Insurance
    In the US. it is mandatory to purchase disability insurance only if your business is in one of six locations. Contact your local govt to see if you're located in one of them.
How will you take orders? Choose one or choose all!


  • Telephone
    Will you have dispatchers or utilize a call center? Do you plan on handling it all on your own or outsourcing it? Every option has its own set of benefits.
  • Online Ordering
    A standard in todays society. Creating your own or use a software platform is a hard choice. Building your own can be advantageous but could be more expensive than using another system.
  • Text Messaging
    One of the most popular methods of communication. Using a 3rd party service to assist you could make your life so much easier.
  • Apps
    Is there an app included with your software platform? If not, do you want to build a custom one? 

Choosing the right software platform can be a really tough decision. There are so many options out there - how do you know which one is the best fit for you? Being a member of the RMDA will grant you access to our vendor page. These vendors are tested and approved! Reach out to other members for the pros and cons of each platform.

This is one of the most important aspects of your company. Restaurant relationships are the lifeblood of the RDS. When partnering with restaurants, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Restaurant Contract
    The majority of restaurant delivery services are contracted with restaurants to provide food delivery. 
  • Manage Expectations
    Make sure when you approach the restaurant you have a solid presentation. Restaurants may have lots of questions, be prepared to answer them.
  • Competition
    Are you okay with "sharing" your restaurant with competitors? If not, approach restaurants that aren't partnered with other 3rd party delivery services. You can also include an exclusivity clause in your contract.

You can't open until you have a staff. There are a number of online applications that will help you schedule or you can go "Old School" and use an excel spreadsheet. Remember to contact your local agencies to determine the rules when dealing with employees or self-employed delivery professionals.

  • Office/Admin Staff
    Who will dispatch or take phone orders? Typically an RDS has their Office staff handle these items, at least in the beginning.
  • Drivers
    Every RDS needs to have drivers. You will have to determine if you want self-employed drivers or if you want to hire them as employees.
  • Sales and Marketing
    Will you be hiring outside sales help or taking that on yourself?

Typical marketing will include your contact info and brand information. Many companies do a combination of the marketing ideas listed below. Each will have its own return of investment (ROI) and will be different in each market. You may have to experiment a bit to find what works best for your business!

  • Print
    An oldy but goody and definitely a staple in every marketing plan. There are many different ways to maximize your print marketing.
  • Word of Mouth
    Best and cheapest form of marketing! Good "word of mouth" comes from positive experiences and high recommendations.
  • Inside Restaurant Marketing
    A good RDS will advertise in their partner restaurants. Signs, take-out menus, window clings are all great ways to let the restaurant's customers know they can order delivery.
  • Online Marketing
    Accomplished through social media, SEO and SEM. There are a ton of resources out there to help you master these and win the online war.
  • Car Toppers
    Imagine a dark night where your logo and information illuminate the night sky, saving customers from hunger.
  • None
    Another option you probably should just avoid. Unless you are allergic to money...then this is the option for you!

Common types of Print that help you market your RDS.

  • Flyers
    Can be left with each order as well as at the restaurant. Includes your brand information and contact info.
  • Direct Mail
    Every Day Direct Mail is a great utility. Its like direct mail but you get to choose the postal routes you want to target.
  • Brochures/Menu Books
    Menu books are like catalogs that include the menus of restaurant partners that you have in your stable. Send these to prospective clients!

Got inside restaurant marketing on the brain? Try these examples:

  • Window Clings
    Now everyone that passes by your partner restaurants know who you are. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
  • Post Cards/Business Cards
    A leave behind at the restaurant for their dine in and takeout customers is prime time real estate. Now they can get delivery too!
  • Website Links
    Visiting a partner website can lead to more orders. Make sure you link to ordering that restaurant and not just back to your home page.

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