7 Essentials for a Successful Restaurant Delivery Business
The restaurant delivery business has grown enormously in recent years, and it shows no signs of fading. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly half of all consumers have ordered delivery from a restaurant, and delivery sales have increased by 120 percent. Even when the pandemic ends, many other factors—such as consumer preferences for digital ordering, the increased popularity of remote work, and more people living alone—will continue to make takeout and delivery critical for restaurants.
That said, it can be difficult to get delivery right. A successful restaurant delivery business needs to strike a balance between financial health, streamlined logistics, and guest satisfaction. Here are seven ways to make it all work for your restaurant.
1. Mobilize your restaurant’s customers to break up with third-party delivery apps.
Third-party delivery apps like Grubhub may seem convenient, but they undermine customer loyalty and siphon restaurants’ profits with their commission-based pricing. Restaurateurs have been frustrated with these apps for years, and now consumers are finally catching on.
According to Eli Portnoy, CEO of market research firm Sense360, “With the fees third-party delivery platforms are charging restaurants and the dramatic economic impact on small businesses and restaurants, consumers are very sensitive to sharing more of the revenue with the restaurant itself. (Around) 42 percent want more of the money to go straight to the restaurant.”
It’s the perfect time for your restaurant to take a stand and leverage your customers’ goodwill to move to a commission-free platform. Providers like ChowNow offer on-demand delivery for a distance-based rate. This keeps costs lower and more predictable, giving more money and control back to restaurants.
2. Perfect your restaurant’s delivery menu.
Depending on the type of cuisine you serve, some of your dishes may not travel well. It’s important to evaluate which menu items can endure a 30-minute drive. If you have fan favorite dishes that may not go the distance, consider reworking these offerings, so you can keep guest satisfaction high.
3. Use the right packaging to keep your food delicious.
Your packaging plays a big role in how well your food will travel. US Foods recommends keeping hot and cold dishes apart and separating out the different components of a dish. For example, if you’re serving a Ceasar salad with a freshly grilled chicken breast, keep the lettuce, chicken, and dressing separate. You can also foster more trust in your delivery business by using tamper-proof packaging.
4. Keep your staff on-track by managing your restaurant delivery business’s zones and times.
The right delivery partner will help you control the delivery zones and dayparts that work best for your business. Experts recommend keeping your delivery radius to roughly five miles, so food doesn’t degrade. That said, if you have in-house drivers, send them on your longest deliveries, so you can keep distance-based delivery fees down.
Keep an eye on delivery hours and order volume, too. Your restaurant may have limited staff and hours right now, so it’s beneficial to use a delivery solution that lets you easily edit your hours, skip different dayparts, and reject delivery orders if you’re overwhelmed.
5. Collect guest emails to stay in touch and build loyalty.
In order to have a sustainable restaurant delivery business, you need a loyal and connected customer base. Gather your guests’ email addresses, so you can continually communicate with them. Let them know you’re listening if they have a question or issue with an order. Leverage restaurant email marketing best practices, too, and send out regular emails with updates about your menu, promotions, or other messages.
6. Send a personal message with print marketing.
If you’re grateful for your guests, let them know! Adding a hand-written note to delivery orders creates a personal connection with customers. You can also use printed materials like postcards to thank guests for ordering straight from you, and include a small discount for their next meal.
If you’re still working with third-party apps, use these techniques to get your customers to move from middleman platforms to directly ordering from you.
7. Meet guests where they are by offering multiple ways to order.
More and more guests are ordering delivery right now, so it’s important to have a strong presence on as many channels as possible. Make it easy for new guests to go from discovery to purchase by integrating your online ordering into your different online profiles.
The right online ordering and food delivery service will help your guests order through the channel that’s most convenient for them, whether it’s via your website, branded mobile apps, search engine results, or review sites. Keep these listings updated to attract even more customers.
Strengthen your restaurant’s delivery business by working with ChowNow. Get started today and schedule a call with a delivery specialist.