Optimizing your restaurant delivery service: 8 factors to consider
Did you know that recent, post-coronavirus market research has shown that food delivery is expected to grow to over $154.34 billion by 2023? News like that means that offering delivery services should go straight to the top of your to-do list. If you don’t know how to go about it, we’ve got you covered. This post draws your attention to 8 key points you need to focus on to offer exceptional food delivery service.
1. Offer multiple ordering channels
There’s nothing wrong with tradition. But it’s time you moved past phone ordering and offered more options to your customers, don’t you think so? Online food ordering is flexible and convenient, and it’s already growing to be everyone’s preferred method of ordering food. The most common options are your restaurant’s website or mobile app or a third-party platform. Social media ordering is another modern-day solution, with Facebook and Instagram additionally being great platforms to build hype about your restaurant.
2. Build an online food ordering system
When a previously dine-restaurant throws delivery into the mix, the level of difficulty increases. To avoid confusion and manage both dine-in and delivery orders efficiently, you need to be perfectly organized. The right technology can help you with that. A full-featured online food ordering system will untie your hands by automating and simplifying all the operations that make up the delivery process.
First of all, your food ordering system will automatically push all incoming orders to the kitchen. The system will additionally process digital payments, automatically update your inventory, generate reports, support reward loyalty programs, and more. Creating and updating your menu will also be fast and easy.
3. Optimize your menu for delivery
Menus designed for delivery should be different than those for dine-in, primarily because delivery orders often come in bulks and can overload your kitchen staff. You should, therefore, eliminate dishes that require special or lengthy preparation methods, especially if they can only be prepared last minute.
Also, optimize your menu to meet the different needs of off-premise diners. Offer lunch menus, especially if you’re in a busy, urban area and DIY meal kits, which have become very popular lately. Your online menu should also take care of upselling. Suggest adds-on that go well with your dishes and customers rarely order on their own, like side dishes, dips, and even wines for meat and fish plates.
4. Use your kitchen staff wisely
When both your floor is full and online orders come in relentlessly, your staff should be able to keep their cool and maintain a steady workflow. If your space allows it, then set a separate preparation line for delivery and takeout orders to avoid confusion and congestion in the kitchen. Because this is not easy to execute, make sure to have your most experienced kitchen staff on duty during busy hours.
5. Choose a delivery method
The food is ready, so now who is going to deliver it to your customers? You have three options here. The first one is to do it on your own, which means you’ll have to equip your own fleet of drivers and vehicles. The second option is to outsource delivery to a service provider. Outsourcing delivery takes significant stress and responsibility off your hands. It can, however, decrease the quality of the service if the staff isn’t properly trained. A third option, which small restaurants favor the most, is to share a delivery fleet with neighboring restaurants. You can read about this topic in our post Should you own, outsource, or share your food delivery service?
6. Use a driver assist app
A driver assist app is a must-have tool for busy restaurants and chains, which can significantly reduce delivery times and save you money. How? First of all, the app automatically assigns incoming orders to the first available driver. It also calculates the best route and helps drivers steer clear of traffic and arrive at their destination effortlessly and on time. Another big plus is that a driver assist app enables you to track your delivery drivers, which means you can calculate the ETA for future orders more accurately.
7. Deliver with care
Delivering food that looks and tastes like it just got out of the kitchen is just as important as delivering it on time (if not more!). Packaging can make a world of difference in the delivery experience. A few basic things to remember are:
- Choose eco-friendly packaging. Modern consumers are particularly environmentally conscious.
- If possible, brand your packaging to leave a lasting impression on the customers.
- Place hot and cold food separately. It’s also essential to use containers that maintain food temperature to avoid spoilage that could cause food poisoning.
- Beware of small details that can ruin a dish. Pasta, for example, continues to absorb heat and is often delivered overcooked.
- Use sturdy cup carriers and spill-free containers for soups, drinks, etc. Liquid items create a mess when spilled and look really unappetizing.
Don’t forget to add any additional items the customer might have requested. For some, a missing dip can ruin their whole dinner. Include items that will improve the taste of the food, like slices of lemon, spices, vinegar, and sauces. For top-notch service, offer complimentary napkins and tableware.
8. Let people know
Your dine-in customers will be interested to know about this new service of yours. Send out emails to inform them that food delivery service is now available, and advertise it on-site as well. You can add a note on your menu, for example, or a discreet sign at the reception area.
The news should also be prominent on your website as well as your social media pages. SEO and paid ads are also great options to market your delivery service and increase online visibility. The only caveat here is that you need to know your customers’ demographics well to target your ads to the right audience.
Food for thought
If you’re not offering food delivery, you’re missing out on significant revenue opportunities. Plus, if there’s anything the recent health crisis taught us, it’s that things can change overnight. So you always need a plan B. Next, read our post Why you should build your own online food ordering system for your restaurant to find out why it’s best to have full control of delivery instead of turning to food aggregators.