Don’t Hire A Food Delivery Service
Run Your Successful Take-Out and Delivery
Delivering food is moving beyond pizza and Chinese to whatever food that fits into a takeout container.
A National Restaurant Survey from 2006 indicated that 34% of adults reported that take-out food was essential to their way of life, almost seven years later in 2013 according to STATISTA, 60 percent of Americans admitted to ordering food for takeout or delivery at least once a week.
Today fast-casual restaurants, casual dining restaurants, and even fine dining establishments are tapping into the possibilities and benefits of take-out and delivery services.
I’m proud to say my business Corporate Catering was ahead of its time! We started delivering our lunch menu selections in the early 90’s. We didn’t have very much competition in the beginning, but we faced some major obstacles.
We worked on and developed a successful system that added tremendously to our bottom line.
I created menu items that traveled well and could be prepared in a timely fashion. We also implemented an interviewing and hiring process that allowed us to find the best delivery drivers possible.
We had two goals 1- feed the local working class customers promptly at their convince in their workplace and 2- delight them with menu choices they would only expect if they were going to eat at a restaurant.
Lunches were delivered to their desk, office meeting rooms or lunch break rooms.
Ordering food is no longer dependent on making a phone call.
Today all it takes is a few swipes of a finger on a phone and credit or debit card, and then a meal of your choice is on its way to your door or office.
You can utilize restaurant delivery services in the local area. We did but eventually decided we wanted to have control of that service. You have to do what’s best for you and your restaurant.
Don’t Hire A Food Delivery Service – Run Your Successful Take-Out and Delivery
Set up your restaurant’s delivery service, hire your drivers and dedicate a phone and app to take the orders.
I believe doing it yourself instead of relying on an outside delivery service is the way to go.
It gives you a chance to build a rapport with your customers and ensure the delivery times.
One of the biggest reason you should offer it is outside services can cut into your profit margins. Delivery services want a commission, usually 15 to 30 percent of the food price, on each order.
That can leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouth and wallet!
We delivered mostly prepared from scratch lunches to businesses from auto body shops, hair salons, marketing companies to the CEO of major corporations.
Our services allowed our customers more time for eating deliciously prepared foods and enjoying their break.
Take-out and Delivery Ordering Methods
The telephone is still the most common method of placing take-out and delivery orders.
The first thing to note is that the takeout and delivery is a whopping $70 billion market.
More importantly, of that $70 billion, only about $9 billion (roughly 13 percent) is online according to the site techcrunch.com
In a world where almost everything is done on the computer or through mobile apps, approximately 9 out of 10 individuals are still using the traditional method of picking up the phone to call in takeout and delivery orders.
According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant websites are typically visited by 48% of adults and about 13% of consumers have used the internet to place an order for take-out or delivery. This is convenient for people placing large orders, and modern POS systems can often handle online orders with ease.
Many restaurants are moving beyond traditional telephone orders.
Papa John’s Pizza is now equipped to receive SMS or text message orders from personal cell phones or devices.
While drive-thru is traditionally associated with fast-food chains, many independent quick-service restaurants, especially coffee joints and sandwich restaurants, are taking advantage of this popular ordering method.
The faster your take-out service, the likely you are to find customers walking in for to-go orders.
You have to accommodate your walk-in guests with speedy, friendly take-out services.
Ensuring Accuracy Methods
Accuracy is everything in any restaurant, but even more so with take-out orders and delivery orders.
With take-out or delivery orders, the driver can’t run back to the kitchen and grab the side of fries he forgot when he delivered the food.
There is only one chance to get it right, or else the customer’s meal might very well be a total disappointment.
Be sure you have an accurate system, such as proper Point of Sale (POS) software, as well as staff who understands how to complete the tasks correctly and efficiently.
You can start by delivering in the immediate neighborhood and limit deliveries to breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending on your cuisine, customers and in which area you’d most like to increase your sales.
Planning is essential for targeting your delivery market and planning which items you want to include for deliveries.
- Packaging food safely
- Securing food in the delivery vehicle
- Providing clear ordering options so that orders aren’t prepared incorrectly
- Including appropriate condiments, napkins and tableware
A check of the food before leaving the building and reaching the customer’s hands, just like any food going to a guest at a restaurants table, it must be visual checked.
The customer expects every menu item they ordered to be present.
This also ensures maintaining food temperature standards, that hot foods hot and cold foods cold this saying also applies to the meal’s final destination whether it’s a table in the restaurant dining room or the customer’s table back home.
Take-out and Delivery Menu
Consider what your kitchen staff is capable of producing and what items will be appropriate for your take-out menu.
You should consider a specific take-out menu for your guests. There may be regular menu items that will not be easily transported, especially if your take-out containers do not seal tightly or stay upright.
Schedule Workers Appropriately
When developing a take-out or delivery system, you may need to consider bringing on a few extra employees.
This is true especially if take-out sales make up a significant portion of your revenue. If your business relies on sales from the take-out and delivery menu items, then you should be sure to have workers to accommodate these sales. There will always be that window when you know take-out or delivery schedule accordingly.
Hiring or training workers to accurately perform the following tasks:
Answer and organize incoming phone calls or drive-thru orders
Expedite all orders to be sure each one is complete and accurate
Drive delivery orders
Provide training for delivery drivers.
They should be more than just hired drivers. They represent your restaurant and you as an owner. These people must be honest, personable and representative of the service your restaurant provides to all of its customers.
Insurance is Critical
Although all restaurants ought to have liability insurance and workers’ compensation, establishments that run vehicle delivery services—no matter if they are company-owned or worker-owned—must invest in automobile insurance. You run the risk of facing a lawsuit or other damages if one of your drivers gets into an accident. Insurance affords your workers, the public and your business the protection and peace of mind you need.
Challenges when incorporating take-out services
For full-service restaurants, it can be tricky.
Lower check averages.
Check averages tend to be lower than normal since guests are typically not ordering appetizers, desserts or beverages with their meals, and do not usually include a tip.
Limited parking spaces.
You need a designated parking area for take-out customers. A well-designated parking area specifically for take-out customers can be higher take-out sales, and will help your employees deliver better service, including delivering food to each customer’s car immediately when they arrive.
Pick-up area inside your restaurant.
A separate counter or bar area is necessary to differentiate in-house dining from take-out orders.
Proper signage and even a special entrance may be required in some cases.
Things to Consider about Delivery Services
There is a high initial cost for starting out in take-out services.
Determine if you will install a minimum order charge for deliveries.
Some restaurants require a minimum order of $10 or more for delivery.
Decide if you will offer free delivery.
Many restaurants offer free delivery as a means of promoting their services but decide if you can afford to offer or if you will charge a delivery fee.
Marketing your delivery services.
Your delivery services will be much more profitable when you know how to properly promote it.
The more ways that you offer customers to order, the more customers and orders you can get.
You can start simply enough by distributing flyers in the neighborhood and to nearby offices and complexes.
Other methods of marketing your service inexpensively include:
- Using your website to promote the services
- Including copies of your menu in all carryout orders
- Posting menus on local bulletin boards
- Advertising on carryout packaging
- Marketing in-house with signage
- Posting your menu online and taking orders over the Internet
- Buying ads in yellow pages, local directories, newspapers and magazines, especially culinary magazines
- Issuing press releases to local media and digital platforms that target local audiences
- Getting servers and staff to promote the services to customers with suggestive selling
I’ve mentioned and advised in this post that I preferred to have my in-house Take-Out and Delivery department but what if you don’t?
Outsourcing delivery can be a right choice for your operation for three main reasons:
Services are cost-effective since there is no additional payroll, and the staff that you do have can be used for in-house labor rather than delivery work.
Delivery services often cover a greater area and distance, making the option more convenient for customers.
You do not need to purchase any delivery vehicles and any needed equipment since your contracted delivery service will do that for you.
The delivery service will manage a delivery phone line for you, saving you on phone payments and again on labor.
Don’t Hire A Food Delivery Service – Run Your Successful Take-Out and Delivery
You can easily increase your business with carryout and delivery services, and they often work in a complementary way with dining room activity.
Yes, there will be days when you get a bit overwhelmed with the orders from every area, but those will be among your most profitable days. Few restaurateurs would consider too much business as a drawback.
Need help with developing your take-out delivery service?
My one on one phone consultation services can answer questions you might have.
Let startyourrestaurantbusiness.com guide you in the right delivery direction.