By Tom Kaiser

A new partnership between point-of-sale giant NCR and delivery providers DoorDash and Grubhub aims to eliminate the separate tablets that have become a necessary evil for restaurants looking to add revenue through third-party delivery.

For restaurants using Duluth, Georgia-based NCR’s Aloha point-of-sale system, the new partnerships allows restaurants using DoorDash or Grubhub to ditch the separate tablets and, instead, have delivery orders directly integrated into their existing computers. In addition to less valuable back-of-the-house space dedicated to delivery tablets, NCR also claims the new partnership will help restaurants more efficiently use their staff, save time on menu updates, consolidate financials and reduce the potential for order mistakes.

“If you are a restaurant operator and had four, five or six of these relationships or channels of different sorts, you have a lot of devices that surround the point of sale,” said Jon Lawrence, NCR’s senior director, global product marketing. “We looked at this initially as a way [of saying] how can we help better serve our restaurant customers, and one of those was simply [asking] if there is a better way to streamline this activity to reduce the amount of errors.”

Speculating on the future of third-party delivery providers which have consolidated as larger players buy smaller, regional players, Lawrence said he doesn’t expect there to be one dominant delivery channel for the coming years. These partnerships, he said, will reduce the burden for restaurants choosing to deliver through multiple providers.

Sandra Glading, director of public relations at Grubhub, said the NCR deal is one of several partnerships intended to lower the barrier for restaurants looking to add third-party delivery.

“This is Grubhub’s fourth POS collaboration,” she said. “Grubhub also recently rolled out POS integrations with Oracle’s Micros system, Breadcrumb and Toast, which combined with NCR’s Aloha system, makes it easier than ever for restaurant operators to capitalize on the potential from delivery.”

Lawrence said NCR’s research shows that many restaurants using third-party delivery have to shut their delivery operation down at peak times, as restaurant staff is focused on taking care of customers inside the restaurant.

“They actually turn them off because they don’t have to monitor them,” he said. “”It’s almost like I get the benefit of the additional channels without the added stress of watching those devices and entering orders … and at the same time, I can do something that doesn’t directly affect the guests that are physically inside the four walls of my restaurant.”

On the customer side of the equation, integrated delivery can also improve customer perceptions when certain menu items become unavailable. Now, those items can immediately be removed from delivery portals, reducing the number of disappointed customers contacted after placing online orders.

NCR said the formal integration with each company will happen “over the next several months.” Terms of the partnerships with either delivery provider were not released.