Selling food online has proven to be a necessity in the new Covid normal of restaurants. More and more people are choosing to order food home or go instead of an establishment every day. Suppose you want to restructure your restaurant to meet the new demands of consumers. How do you go about it? We at the On Demand Company know a thing or two about online deliveries! Here are some points to keep in mind! 1. You need a menu that can be safely transported Selling food online is not just about fast food. Many restaurants have been successful with shipping salads, soups, and even gourmet food. Each food type has a bit of nuance to the packaging. You must have the proper containers and handle every kind of food. Here are a few things to consider:
- Make sure there is plenty of hot and cold food separation
- Each item must have adequate packaging and is securely sealed with things like plastic wraps
- Separate liquid sauces and dressings into individual, airtight containers
- For soups or creams, use special containers and wrap them in plastic or paper
- Remember to account for the cost of purchasing packaging into your prices
2. Home delivery or pick up service? For your restaurant to be truly successful, you must offer all possible ways for customers to get food. Along with online delivery, it is recommended that your restaurant have the appropriate facilities to provide pick-up services. Some people do not like paying for delivery fees or like to pick up food on the way to their home. Having a pick-up service and a means to deliver food will help keep every customer happy and grow your business. What can you do if you don’t have a driving crew? It can seem like a daunting task to suddenly come up with a team that helps deliver food, especially during a pandemic where so many restaurants have had to cut back on staff. However, it’s not as bad as it seems. There are a few options to consider: Ask your current or former staff. If you had to lay off a few members during the pandemic, consider approaching them, especially if they have their own transportation. Also, consider asking your current members to get an idea of who might be interested in this new role. Using people you have already worked with will give a peace of mind like no other. Knowing that they can be trusted to deliver and not waste time makes them an excellent option to integrate them as a part of your home delivery team. Sign Up For Online Platforms – Grubhub, UberEates, Postmates ,etc. You can do this in addition to having your own delivery crew. In that case, you would only use these platforms for their orders. But if you can’t afford your own drivers, then having others do it might be your only option. However, since it is a third-party platform, delivery control will not be in your hands. Accidents could occur in the transfer of the order or bad service in the delivery that leaves a wrong impression among your customers about your restaurant. You should also consider that these platforms can charge a commission taking more than 30 percent of your order. The On Demand Company, using its Virtual Restaurant method, might be able to help knock out these commission charges considerably. More on that below. 3. A platform to receive and manage orders online Assuming you do not want to use third party platforms like Grubhub, there is another way. Thanks to the development of new technologies for restaurants, selling food online has become more accessible and cheaper than ever before. An innovative option among restaurants is setting up customizable platforms to safely and quickly sell food, either for delivery or to pick up. Unlike a website, which tends to take a while to create, these platforms are specially designed to make your online menu fast and extremely easy. There are many platforms, such as Ecwid, a quick search engine query can find for you. Each of these platforms has various pros and cons that should be heavily analyzed since you will be spending precious hours building out the menus. Having your own platform will help you provide a much more customized user experience with much better branding, but at the cost of consistent sales and security that third party platforms offer. 4. Accepting online payments and various payment methods Online payments are becoming increasingly popular. They can be considered a “must-have” for any business that strives to sell online. They have also proven to be an ideal way to avoid contact with surfaces that can spread Covid-19. However, it is a good idea to research the various merchant services and consider their fees. While the fees initially might seem minuscule, as they are typically less than 2%, combined with packaging expenses, taxes, and commissions if you use third-party platforms, they can really take a bite out of your profits. 5. Comply with food safety and transportation guidelines It is a good idea to consult the legal, hygienic, and food transport policies of the city and state your restaurant is located in. While these policies will not differ significantly, as germs work the same way everywhere, it is still a good idea to read over these things to avoid unneeded fines. The requirements generally include aspects related to
- Having adequate storage for all food, cold and dry.
- Having a state business license.
- Having all the necessary permits from local authorities.
- Having the certificates of your country or locality for a safe reopening.
6. A promotion strategy on the Internet To attract more customers on the Internet, you must share the links through which you receive online orders everywhere. Take advantage of the free tools that social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp messaging have to promote your business on the Internet and maintain direct contact with your customers. It might even be a good idea to look into paid social media or search advertising. There are tons of creative ways restaurant owners promote their brand. Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube are excellent sources of inspiration. Also, be sure to read our online reputation management guide found here. 7. A system to keep track of inventory An important aspect that you must consider is will you have enough ingredients for your online orders. As it is a new sales channel, you must correctly account for the portions’ yields to guarantee that each dish has the quality that the customer is expecting. The best way to go about doing this is to have software that keeps track of your physical and online orders combined. This will allow you to see what dishes are your best sellers and the ingredients they need. Tools like these are lifesavers when it comes to planning for holiday seasons and special days. We hope that you have found these tips to be helpful. Serving food to customers online might seem intimidating at first. But, once the system has been set up, it can very well be the thing that takes your business to the next level. Speaking of the next level, The On Demand Company has helped over 600 restaurants like yours grow to the next level by creating a virtual brand and optimizing it. The best part? Our initial consultation call is entirely free! Feel free to learn more about us here!