Running a restaurant feels like a rollercoaster of great days and empty seats at the best of times, moreso with the current troubles. To keep afloat, many restaurants are trying to pare down menus and space out dining areas. These and other measures have some promise but seem so difficult to engage with.
One way places are thriving is through offering expanded restaurant delivery service. The problem isn’t a lack of food or a lack of will to make it, it’s the riks of having too many people congregate in an area. The solution: take the food to the people.
The rapid expansion of delivery needs has led to a massive surge in delivery company profits. Getting your food out there, whether through a third party or an in-house team, is clearly important.
Read on to learn about how to expand or start delivery services for your restaurant.
Restaurant Delivery Service Essentials
Restricting dinging room customers by distancing the tables only does so much to keep money rolling in. Half the capacity means half the profit but little change to your overhead. You’re still paying for the lights, the HVAC, and all the same advertising meant to draw people in.
Cutting orders with suppliers puts them in a bad position and you may have faced warnings that future rates will go up for many of your typical shipments. The COVID-19 pandemic is squeezing everyone and, unfortunately, restaurants are getting slammed the hardest.
Delivering food keeps your staff working, justified all the same (or close to) orders through suppliers, and it builds rapport with customers that will be remembered when normalcy returns. This list compiles ideas and tips from worldwide food service trends to give you the best chance of maintaining your business.
Why a Simplified Menu?
Before you start sending drivers out the doors laden with copious amounts of succulent edibles, you need to consider your menu.
The wide variety of things you normally offer won’t fair so well for delivery. Not only does variety make it difficult to box, but it also makes it easier to make a mistake. As annoying as it is to have something sent back to the kitchen for an alteration or addition, it’s better than losing the customer altogether.
A simple menu lets you prep for a larger rush in a shorter time window and still get everything done.
Creating daily specials and large quantities of some signature dishes is easier to do when the menu only offers so much. This saves on waste from unordered options.
Finally, changing menu options to meals that can stay warm longer, need fewer finishing touches, and reheat or travel well is key.
Offerings and Options?
Wanting to limit the menu is the first step. The second step is figuring out what to offer.
With so many people stuck at home, and stressed, the need for comfort foods is way way up. People want to feel like they are getting a bit of an escape, and the day-to-day health of a meal is less important.
Consider both your previous best sellers and your biggest orders on a rainy day or just after the home team has lost. These are the things people want most right now.
For dishes that need a bit of structure to complete, consider making instructions for completion and putting all the pieces into separate containers. Anything that will congeal or get soggy should be kept apart to preserve flavor/texture.
If you want to test the waters of desire for your restaurant food delivery services, start with curbside pickups.
This option limits the interaction between staff and customers (and customers with other customers) while still getting your food out the door.
Post appropriate signage for pick up areas or instruct patrons to stay in their cars and provide clear identifiers for delivery. Look into online or remote payment options or be prepared to have checks paid after ordering.
Whether you send out your own staff as delivery drivers or contract through a third party, you want to offer a contactless option.
Your own staff makes for a more coherent restaurant pickup and delivery service but speed is of the essence. If you are using your own staff, make sure you have safety in mind.
Make clear if a customer is looking for a contactless delivery and confirm addresses and special instructions before an order is completed. You don’t want to send a driver out on bare-bones info that costs time.
Provide drivers with appropriate PPE in the form of masks and gloves for order placement. Add tips and other gratuities to the front-end check. This both helps assure you can compensate delivery staff and also keeps worrisome cash exchanges out of the equation.
Deals and Discounts
To offer the best restaurant delivery service, you will need to have a robust online portal. This helps you to advertise specials and show the refined menu. It also gives you confidence that your costs are being covered by ensuring payment before the food gets boxed.
Offering discounts on dine-in options in the future (but not too far in the future) when making delivery orders is important. You want to remind the customer that you do have a physical location and to keep inviting them back. These discounts also offset charges you may need to make for delivery.
Offer special prices for bulk orders of a pre-made menu. Not only is this an affordable option for people, but it provides the double benefit of delivering a multi-course meal that feels more special.
If you change your menu weekly and keep your website current, you can also add hour by hour updates about in-house seating availability.
Make It Tasty
No matter what steps you take to start a restaurant delivery service, you still need to make the best food you can. Don’t let your identity or your quality get lost in the changes.
For more information about the restaurant world, keep coming back here.