TOP 10 BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFICIENT AND PROFITABLE TAKE-OUT AND FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE
Everyone is suddenly fighting for a piece of the same pie. Here are ten tips to make sure your food delivers well, tastes fresh, impresses patrons and sets you apart.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
A curated delivery menu featuring high-margin, low-labor options not only streamlines operations, it improves food delivery times and customer satisfaction.
REMOVE MENU ITEMS THAT DON’T TRAVEL WELL
You want your food and your brand to come across the same way in-house and off-premise — but it’s in your best interest to remove the items that’ll be irreversibly damaged by time in transit and add a couple of travel-friendly items in their place.
INCLUDE REHEATING INSTRUCTIONS
Certain items get less tasty almost immediately after leaving a restaurant kitchen, a quick zap in a pan, oven or toaster oven will restore them to their former glory. Include reheating instructions on receipts, a notecard added to the order or even as part of your packaging. It’s a way to show your customers that you care about the quality of your food for your delivery and takeout customers as much as your in-house guests.
A SMOOTH HANDOFF IS CRITICAL
Locking in prep times is key in order to avoid long driver wait times. Consistent prep times make it easier for drivers to arrive right when an order is ready. This way, food stays fresh and drivers can maximize their earning potential, a win-win for everyone.
OFFER FAMILY-STYLE MEAL KITS
DIY kits featuring the recognizable recipes your customers crave allows families to come together for an activity while enjoying restaurant-quality food. Offering reasonably priced, but still “cheffed up” comfort food for guests to make at home boosts higher volume ticket sales. It’s especially ideal for those foods that don’t travel well, including pizza, tacos and gourmet sandwiches.
MIMIC DINE-IN EXPERIENCES
Consumers dine out because they are looking for an experience. So bring the in-restaurant experience home. Host virtual lunchtime meetups, social Q&A sessions, live drawings for free meals, include goody bags or prizes for off-premise orders. Sell customized merchandise or even bottles of booze for socially distant entertaining.
Rule #1 of delivery or take-out is packaging sauce on the side. It prevents any sogginess and allows the customer to add as much or as little sauce as they want. Keep hot and cold items separate and use containers with compartments. Tamper-evident labels are the clearest sign that food items have not been touched by anyone outside the restaurant’s physical location. When possible, use compostable packaging. We are generating a lot of new trash with the increase in take-out and delivery.
MARKET YOUR BUSINESS
Start with the basics: ensure your website is up to date with hours of operation, ordering process, sanitization procedures, etc. Keep your social channels updated with changing information. But don’t stop there. Break through the clutter and engage with your loyal customers. Offer deals like free kids meals with the purchase of an entrée, free delivery, or discounted wine. Patrons want to support their local restaurants, but they are also looking for value. Remember, many of them are also out of work.
SPECIALS KEEP THEM COMING BACK
Offer daily or weekly specials not on the standard menu. Use leftovers in unexpected ways. Feature a Throwback Thursday special with an oldie but a goodie. Create a fictional holiday and recipe to go along with it. Get ideas from your customers on what they would love to see on the menu. For many of us, a good meal is the highlight of the day right now, so let that creativity shine!
FOCUS ON TODAY, BUT THINK AHEAD
Start thinking about events and catering as things ramp back up. As offices reopen, teams will want to reconnect after working remotely. Celebrations that have been postponed will come back in full force. Keeping your customers engaged at any level now is a great way to drive future business when a sense of normalcy returns.
Views expressed by others are not endorsed by Hormel Foods.