Tips on How to Fulfill the High Demand for Food Delivery in Your Restaurant

Everyone loves the occasional (or often) meal delivery option for lunch or dinner. Maybe someone has had a long day at work or a busy day, and didn’t have an opportunity or energy to cook. Sometimes, someone just needs the luxury of skipping out on meal planning and cooking, and let someone else do the heavy lifting for the next meal.  No matter where one lives or what one does, everyone, at some point, enjoys ordering a meal to be delivered to the comforts of their own home.

Restaurateurs may want to consider offering a food delivery option to their customers to meet the growing desires of eating at home. Dining in at home can be enjoyed alone or bonding with family and friends.

Delivery can be quite lucrative to restaurant owners and appears to be a major future direction in the restaurant world.

Toast says, “70% of all restaurant foot traffic will be outside the restaurant by 2020!” However, adding a meal delivery service option to your model may prove to be challenging. Read on to learn more about how to offer and initiate a meal delivery service option for your customers.

Implement the Right Technology

Adding a delivery system can be overwhelming to many restaurateurs. Consider selecting a point of sales system and restaurant management platform, such as POSbistro, who can do a lot of heavy lifting for the restaurant. The right point of sale platform can offer restaurant clients the following benefits:

The aforementioned perks may prove to be helpful to restaurants as they take on a delivery endeavor.

Embracing the proper technology can work for both customer and restaurant owner. Many restaurant establishments are using apps for patrons to order foods on the go, reports Fortune.

Start Small & Be Strategic With the Menu and Containers

BFS Capital warns restaurateurs to gradually build on their delivery and not start out too big. Perhaps begin with featuring a smaller menu at first. Select the best dishes that travel well with the right takeout containers to properly keep the food as it should be; restaurateurs want their customers to be happy with the result and not disappointed with soggy, cold food. Salads and sandwiches tend to travel well, while fried foods often lose their consistency. Considering a specialized and targeted menu just for delivery may be fruitful as well.  

Optimize Delivery Operations

Be sure to understand the cost of managing delivery yourself as opposed to outsourcing it to one of the 3rd party aggregators.

If you decide to work with drivers hired by aggregators, make sure to monitor the condition of food delivered to your customers. If the food doesn’t have the right taste or temperature due to poor delivery conditions, customers will blame the restaurant, not the delivery service.

If, on the other hand, you decide to implement “in-house” delivery, it’s important to consider the myriad delivery options. Toast suggests exploring the following delivery routes:

  • Routes, which are best for lifestyle restaurants that have sticky clients and deliver daily / weekly food to customers.
  • Back and forth delivery, which is good for companies that want to dispatch an employee when a delivery order comes because they don’t necessarily have a high demand for delivery. Examples of this are pizzeria or Chinese delivery companies.
  • Pick-up locations, which often work well for companies that deliver mass quantities of food for a specific crowd, like in gyms, supermarkets or schools.
  • On-demand delivery providers, which are useful for restaurants that don’t receive many delivery orders and thus don’t need a dedicated delivery driver in the restaurant at all times.
Prepare Space

With the influx of delivery and takeout, many restaurants are reconsidering their prep and kitchen space to accommodate the flow of orders. The Chicago Tribune reports that many restaurateurs are building out separate prep areas and even redesigning and expanding their kitchens just for take out. A few establishments have even built out “takeout” shelves for customers; when a customer has placed a takeout order, they simply go to a specified area in the restaurant, and find their order on a ticket attached to the bag of food. This helps eliminate a logjam of customers waiting to order and receive their meals.

Additionally, if the majority of the business is takeout and delivery, restaurants may want to consider consolidating dining space since more diners are eating out than in, and do not need a plethora of dining tables and chairs.

Provide a Consistent Omni-Channel Experience

Hubspot defines this technology as an omnichannel experience, “At its core, omnichannel is defined as a multi-channel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience. An omnichannel experience accounts for each platform and device a customer will use to interact with the company. Companies using this technique align their messaging, goals, objectives, and design across each channel and device.” Hubspot continues, highlighting how Starbucks’ omnichannel experience allows customers to gain reward points to be used on free merchandise and drinks, order food online to pick up in the location of their choice, and seamlessly reload the money on the app so customers can always be ready to purchase their desired beverages, never running low on their balance.

In addition to the customer experience, restaurants must ensure the platform on their end works for employees. Identifying the right platform is essential for the back of house and front of house staff, so orders are seamlessly prepared and correct. Delivering the wrong or incorrect items to a customer may result in loss of business or a poor online customer review.

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With a growing demand for eating in the comfort of one’s home, considering establishing a delivery component for a restaurant business may be a good idea. As with any change or implementation, make sure to build a plan, and be prepared to cover all bases for both restaurant end and customer end.

Marisa Olsen

Marisa Olsen is a food lover at heart. Hailing from New York City and New Jersey, Marisa now resides in Charlestown, MA with her husband Will and daughter Marin. Marisa was previously the Marketing Manager at Harvest Restaurants, a family-run group featuring 11 restaurants in northern New Jersey. Before coming to the restaurant world, Marisa dabbled in the arts for many years at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Sotheby's. Now she is a freelance writer, marketing consultant, and tries to eat when she has a minute!

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