Even when the coronavirus pandemic ends and stay-at-home orders are lifted, usage of delivery for restaurants is expected to remain higher than it had been before the pandemic. Indeed, many experts have been predicting that the coronavirus episode will produce long-term changes in consumer behavior in the United States.
So, if you haven’t already, or you’re struggling to get started, here are some tips for adding delivery as an option for your restaurant.
Adjust your menu for delivery
Let’s face it: certain ingredients don’t travel well. It’s not possible for the delivery customer to have the same food experience as the in-restaurant guest but it’s possible to come close. Make sure everything in the delivery menu will still be appetizing after riding in a vehicle for 15 or so minutes. It might be slightly cool by the time it reaches its destination. And, it might be more soggy than you hoped. Perhaps do a few test runs to see how the menu items fare and then decide if it should stay on the delivery menu.
Offer family meal options
Putting together family options makes sense from several perspectives. For one, it makes ordering easy when there are multiple people wanting food. Second, it makes it easier for your staff to prepare one large meal with fewer recipes and ingredients than several dishes with lots of different preparations happening all at once. The family meal option is often a ‘no-brainer’ for parents looking for something quick on a weeknight.
Designate a delivery zone
Remember how we talked about adjusting your menu because some items might be slightly cool or soggy when they reach their destination? Part of that may be due to the distance the delivery driver needs to travel in order to drop off the food. Determine how far you want the food to travel and how large the food delivery radius should be before you start accepting orders from three counties away. It won’t end up being profitable because the delivery driver will be out too long and the food won’t be very appetizing when it gets there.
Announce your new delivery options on social media
Social media usage has increased considerably during the pandemic so it’s really imperative that you take advantage and improve your social media marketing. To that end, make sure you post frequent reminders on your social channels that your restaurant now offers delivery. Include details of the delivery zone, how to order (online and over the phone) and the fees involved (if any).
Place a notice on your website
Beyond social media, it makes sense to add a notice to your website to let diners know they can order delivery if they live within the delivery zone. If you are adjusting your menu, explain to customers that the delivery menu is different because it offers the best items for the delivery experience.
Make sure you’re set up for online ordering
There’s perhaps never been a time when it was more important to stay up to date on your restaurant technology. Online ordering can often be set up through a restaurant point of sale system. Plus, several point of sale solutions include delivery service integrations and delivery dispatch features. The online menu should be easy to navigate and accessible via a mobile phone for easy ordering.
Send an email blast letting customers know about delivery options
Social media is one way to reach customers. But there’s no guarantee they will see your post. A better way to reach those customers is through email marketing. More people will read an email, especially if they’re loyal fans of your business. Send out a grand notice letting them know that they can order food for delivery from your restaurant.
Talk to your new drivers about contactless delivery
Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to speak with new drivers about safety and health while delivering food to customers. Walk them through the process of placing food items at the door and then returning to their cars. If they have order information available, the driver could send a text message to the customer letting them know that the food is at their door. Encourage them to use disinfecting wipes between deliveries and use latex gloves when walking the food to the customer’s door.
Want to ensure your restaurant technology can handle the switch to delivery? Contact us today to discuss your options.