Tips On Delivering an Exceptional Off Premise Restaurant Experience
I opened my business Corporate Catering with a business partner; we specialized in off premise catering for the area businesses.
We also offered individual lunch take out and deliveries to the immediate area small businesses. I was in charge of the back of the house and my partner was in charge of the front of the house.
A two person operation eventually turned into a seven man operation.
The delivery of your service, whether to-go or off-premise, is as important, as the quality of your food, a failed delivery experience could have disastrous results.
Every day we offered a special a hot lunch entrée, sandwich, salads, soup and dessert. We offered our menu items for delivery and faxed daily specials to 30-40 businesses a day; those were big numbers back in the early 90’s!
We had two drivers one for business catering (meetings, workshops and top floor executives) and one for lunch deliveries (blue collar and white collar).
You really have to create a world-class delivery service in order to compete hard in the catering arena.
Our business grew dramatically every year! We had developed a reliable and consistent Catering, Lunch Delivery Service.
I know I know Drivers are difficult to recruit, vehicles can be expensive to maintain and insurance rates can burn a hole in your pockets but innovation drives the customer experience, which in turn creates word-of-mouth marketing for you.
Off-premise operation’s -catering, delivery and to-go is becoming a necessary income avenue for many food establishments and you can’t afford not to include in your services.
He is going beyond customer expectations, using innovation as their catalyst for success.
Let’s get right to the heat of the matter restaurants live or die by order execution, anything less than a stellar performance will negatively affect your customers experience.
Tips On Delivering an Exceptional Off Premise Restaurant Experience
~ Make sure your takeout menu only includes items that are easily transportable.
~ When looking to develop and improve your delivery services focus on your supply chain partners to help you. They have resources and answers to help you find solutions.
~ When taking orders online or by phone have your order forms easy to fill out, not only does it make it convenient for the customer but for the kitchen and delivery team also. Order forms should be tailored/customized to your menu selections. The easier you make this part of the service the quicker food is prepared and delivered. Have your best phone voice (the “live” order taker is the first person your customer deals with before they eat, need I say more.
WordPress Take Out Service for restaurants and food delivery services.
~ Always be sure to reserve the customer’s contact info, including address and email, in your database for future direct marketing promotions. With an electronic POS system, it is easy to build a marketing database, since all the customers’ contact information can be sent directly from the online form to the database.
~ Several quick-service chains have added the option of text messaging to their ordering processes. If you take orders via text message, record customers’ cell phone numbers in your database, you may want to inform your customers who order through text messaging about specials and new menu items.
~ Your to-go containers and bags should be set up in an area that is spacious and accessible when packaging.
~It is also important that the food delivery containers are capable of storing and reheating the food in.
~ Set your delivery radius immediately and remember you can always add to it down the road! Stick to your limitations, first impressions matter and bad experiences travels faster than good ones.
Hungry people don’t like waiting for their food.
~ Hiring a Delivery Driver – I saved this for last!
Good Attitude-Drivers that are rude or unpleasant to your delivery customers can sacrifice repeat business. Hire people that are friendly and can make a good impression in the 30 to 60 seconds that they will actually interact with the customer.
Obviously, you want a driver that is safe. Clean Driving Record a Must. Look for no moving violations in the last six or twelve months when screening candidates.
When delivering food, two questions always come to mind: Whose car is being used, and who’s carrying the insurance.
If the driver will be using his or her own vehicle, it is important that they carry insurance. If they get into an at-fault accident or fined for driving without insurance, it will reflect negatively on your establishment.
If it is a company-owned car, the company carries the insurance. If it is the driver’s car, then any accidents are covered by his or her insurance.
Driver Pay –Most delivery drivers are paid about a dollar below minimum wage but make tips.
Depending on the area and what neighborhood they deliver to, the hourly rate and tips can vary. Though they are very similar to servers, deliver drivers make more per hour than waiters and waitresses because oftentimes they have a car to maintain and perform other duties around the kitchen, like washing dishes.
Gas Money-A simple method that businesses use, rather than logging driver miles, is to pay a flat rate per delivery. This rate usually ranges from $0.25 to $1.00 per delivery. The amount will vary depending on the delivery area. Obviously, the larger the delivery area, the more gas money the driver should receive.
Delivery Charge-Many restaurants charge between $0.50 and $2 to deliver. With rising energy costs, this seems like a great way to supplement costs without raising menu prices across the board. Most customers assume that the delivery charge is for the driver and subtract a dollar from their intended tip.
For driver safety reasons, they should not carry more than $20 worth of change on their person. If the order is over $20, ask cash paying customers what they will be paying with, so the driver brings along the correct change.
Write down Special Instructions for Hard-to-Find Places-Most people know if their house is difficult to find (whether it is lost in a suburban jungle or hidden on a wooded country road), so when they give special instructions, your order takers should write down those directions.
VERY IMPORTANT- The delivery driver should only take two or three orders out at most. Anymore, and the last person on the list will receive hot food cold and too late. Also, the oldest order should always be delivered first.
Customer Complaints-All restaurants have to handle a number of customer complaints. Most can easily be handled on the spot with a discounted or free menu items, but when a customer’s doesn’t receive something they ordered turning that customer around can be more difficult.
Don’t Lose Your Cool Customers tend to come off as more hostile over the phone, because it is easier to yell at someone if you are not face to face with them? Keep this in mind, because it is easy to let your own temper flare up, and when dealing with upset customers, cooler heads always prevail.
Use the Same Tactics You Would for in-House Customers-The customer obviously called up because they are dissatisfied and want you to make it right. Be attentive to their needs and do the same thing you would for an in-house customer. Rectify the situation by either bringing out the correct menu item (if something was forgotten) or giving a free or discounted item. The free or discounted items can be given that day or the next time they order.
If something was missed, then it should go to the customer’s house with the very next order (and be first on the delivery route). If no orders are ready or all the drivers are out, delivering it yourself will show the customer how much you care.
Increase your profits by offering takeout and delivery services!
Once you start marketing your takeout and delivery, make sure you are ready for the increase in business.
After 4 years of developing and growing Corporate Catering my partner and I were ready to develop and invest in other business opportunities and successfully sold the business.
We did however stay on during the first year upon the request of the new owner, who continued to pay us a consulting fee.
After this experience we decided restaurant consulting would be in our future.
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Let us help you run a successful Restaurant Delivery Service!