Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, restaurant delivery has become more popular than ever before. The New York Times has asserted that this “pandemic lifeline” is here to stay. James McCarthy, owner of a restaurant software startup, told Forbes that “There’s been a movement from offline to online. The pandemic has sped up what was happening anyway.” However, there are certain steps you have to take to ensure that your venture into online ordering is a success. Today, we’ll tell you how to optimize your restaurant for delivery.
What Do Restaurant Delivery Customers Care About?
Before you jump into the world of restaurant delivery, you have to think about what customers care about. What are they expecting from you? From the delivery workers? What would make their experience exceptional? What would cause a negative review?
Here are the main “delivery dealbreakers,” according to research by SpeedLine Solutions. We’ll help you to avoid these peeves through planning and innovation.
Long Wait Times
If you’re using a service like Postmates or UberEats, you can’t necessarily control how long it takes for drivers to transport food from A to B. However, you can improve a customer’s experience by taking time into account.
Plan Your Menu for Delivery
Avoid advertising dishes with long prep times – these can cause customers to receive their food long after they expect. Instead, curate your delivery-only menu to include foods that can be prepared in batches or in advance.
Figure Out How You’ll Pack Orders
If you’re serious about restaurant delivery, you’ll need to prepare accordingly. The process of packing food into to-go containers (pro tip: make sure those are watertight) can take up quite a bit of space. To ensure that your kitchen staff have enough room to prepare orders, set aside a designated “packing area” for delivery meals.
Many restaurants create a specific station just outside of the kitchen for this purpose. Be sure there’s a workable surface for packing with materials close by. This gives the staff the time and space they need to prepare meals, double-check orders, and ensure accuracy and quality.
Plan for Pickup
You don’t want delivery drivers to be confused about where to pick up to-go orders. It can slow them down, and it also disrupts diners in your restaurant. Address this by creating a specific waiting area for online ordering. Make sure it’s well-labeled and obvious to those who enter your business. This way, you can keep drivers from getting lost or wandering aimlessly by your other guests.
Cold Food That Doesn’t Look Good
The other big customer pet peeve? Cold food that isn’t appetizing. Dishes don’t travel equally. Some of them go soggy (or stale) in a matter of minutes. Others slide around delivery boxes – especially if your driver isn’t careful with the order. Food that arrives smashed, at the wrong temperature, or mixed together doesn’t give your customers the right impression. Optimize for restaurant delivery by ensuring your food arrives in its intended form. Here are some tips for achieving this.
- Curate your menu for delivery. Nix meals that need to be eaten immediately, that haven’t traveled well, or that have received poor reviews.
- Separate the food. Keep cold and warm dishes separate from one another. You can also keep components like dressings, condiments, and toppings in their own containers.
- Invest in good packaging. High quality, watertight containers are a must for many restaurants to reduce leaks and spills.
- Test the process. Before putting your food in the hands of drivers, give it a try yourself. Treat the dishes as a delivery worker would and drive around for a while. Then, determine whether a customer would be happy with the results and adjust accordingly.
Ignored Special Instructions
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that online delivery customers often include special instructions in their orders. This behavior is something you see in the dining room every day. Just like in-house guests, online orderers may request substitutions, meatless preparation, or the removal of specific ingredients due to allergies. While these changes may at times be personal preferences, they can also be incredibly important.
If your restaurant misses the information in the “special instructions” section, it may result in negative reviews or an outright loss of business. Emphasize the importance of this to your kitchen staff – primarily the cooks and the person packing the orders. You should have a system in place to double-check each dish before it goes out to the customer.
Your Partner in Restaurant Delivery
Our experts are ready to optimize your restaurant for delivery. At The On Demand Company, we use powerful analytics to plan the perfect menu, get great reviews, and turn a profit for your business. To learn more about how our virtual brands can help your restaurant thrive, contact our team today.