In the past few years, food delivery services have experienced tremendous growth:
- Statista estimates that restaurant-to-consumer delivery services in the U.S. will record revenue of approximately $16.6 billion in 2021, representing the bulk of the total online food delivery revenue in the year of about $28.5 billion.
- According to Ajot, global online food delivery in 2020 increased by 27% over the previous year, and restaurant-to-consumer delivery revenue reached $65.7 billion, an increase of 22.5% from 2019.
- The number of people using online food delivery services likewise experienced a steep increase during the year that was dominated by COVID-19 restrictions on in-person dining: 1.46 billion people ordered food delivery online in 2020, which is 25% more than the previous year.
The skyrocketing popularity of food delivery services got a big boost from COVID restrictions, but consumers’ “appetite” for meals on wheels shows no signs of waning. Statista forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 4.3% in the online food delivery segment in the U.S. from 2021 through 2024, reaching total revenue of about $32.3 billion in 2024.
To make third-party food delivery as profitable as possible, restaurants need to adopt techniques that reduce their costs by making delivery as efficient as possible. These five tips will help eateries keep their food-delivery customers happy while ensuring that their delivery operations are as profitable as possible.
#1: Make Sure Your Kitchen Can Complete Orders Quickly
Taking orders online and preparing them for delivery changes the demands placed on your kitchen staff. Online orders come in faster at specific times of the day and in different seasons. For example, your restaurant may receive more late-night orders and large orders related to seasonal events such as holidays and graduations.
A modern POS system helps streamline your restaurant’s operation by combining orders received online, by phone, and in person. The sales and employee-productivity numbers available in POS reports identify ways to improve the experience for your restaurant’s delivery customers.
#2: Compare Your Third-Party Food Delivery Service Options
The primary advantages of using a third-party delivery service are drivers and market, both of which are provided by the service. The top four food delivery apps are Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and PostMates.
Each service charges a fee for the delivery that can cut into your restaurant’s profit margin. These services typically charge a 20% to 30% commission on each order, prompting many cities to implement or consider implementing caps on these fees.
- Restaurant customers tend to use whichever third-party delivery app has the variety of restaurants they prefer. Make sure you sign up with a delivery service whose mix of restaurants is likely to attract your target market.
- The popularity of delivery apps varies with the region:
- As of early 2020, Grubhub was the dominant service in New York City.
- DoorDash was the most popular delivery app in San Francisco, Houston, and Dallas.
- Uber Eats was the most popular food delivery service in Miami.
- PostMates topped the market in Los Angeles.
#3: Maintain Control over the Customer Experience
Ensuring each meal your restaurant serves to its delivery customers achieves the quality you’ve set for your establishment is more challenging when you take orders through a third-party food delivery service. Your establishment is no longer the sole point of contact for your customers, so the interaction can seem more detached.
From the customer’s perspective, they’ve had no physical connection with the establishment that prepared their food. Keeping your restaurant’s name associated with the meals your customers are consuming depends almost entirely on the quality of the food itself, which is presented not as it would be in your restaurant but packaged to stay fresh after it has been delivered.
#4: Don’t Skimp On Quality Packaging Designed for Delivery
Related to the point above, reimagine the presentation of your restaurant’s most popular dishes within the limitations of the containers and other packaging required to keep the food as fresh as possible. This may require different container types for items that need to stay cold, those that need to stay hot, and those that need to stay at room temperature.
- In addition to ensuring that hot foods arrive hot and cold foods arrive cold, restaurants need to use tamper-proof packaging for all their delivery orders.
- Insulated packaging for hot and cold dishes must be complemented by packages that ventilate dishes that spoil if they’re sealed.
- Whenever possible, include reminders of your restaurant’s brand and other aspects of the dine-in experience that you want customers to associate with your establishment.
#5: Consider Adjusting Your Menu to Be More Delivery-Friendly
Sometimes the packaging required to ensure that customers can enjoy your restaurant’s food and beverage at their best is unavailable or impractical for specific items. It may be necessary to reconsider some of the items on your restaurant’s standard menu as a concession to the limitations of food delivery services. Your digital menu becomes the new face of your restaurant, so use all the tools at your disposal, including multimedia, to make a positive impression with your customers.
Deciding which items to offer for takeout goes beyond identifying your most popular dishes. You also have to keep in mind how well various items will travel and how easy it will be for customers to enjoy as much of the restaurant experience as possible while serving themselves.
Working with third-party food delivery apps can be a boon to restaurants as long as the service fees aren’t too inflated and customers enjoy the takeout experience.
In a period of change, talech has a number of POS solutions that can help your restaurant adjust operations smoothly. From reaching new audiences to engaging with your existing customers more often, we give you the tools to adapt quickly and with confidence.
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