If you are a restaurant owner then adding delivery to your restaurant is one way to keep abreast of consumer trends within the restaurant industry.
Industry news is showing many trends in hospitality management and the restaurant business that link to customers wanting convenience, on-demand services and everything available at the touch of a button.
The restaurant industry is seeing an increase in fast-casual dining, drive-thru restaurants and delivery-only restaurants. Consumers are looking for delivery options that allow them to experience a restaurant-quality dining experience at home, in the office or even in public spaces, and restaurant owners are moving fast to provide customers with the convenience and quality they are looking for.
Adding food for delivery is also a great way to expand your restaurant business without having to invest in additional premises and in many cases can utilize existing staff and kitchen capacity to increase profits in difficult times.
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Avoiding Third-Party Delivery Companies
Handing over your restaurants delivery services to a third-party food delivery company such as GrubHub or Uber Eats is a quick and easy solution for setting up delivery options.
Delivery partners will often generate and process orders through their delivery app giving them control over your delivery menu and pricing. They will then send a driver to collect the order and deliver it to the customer.
Third-party delivery companies make their money by charging a commission on each order, and many also charge a delivery fee to consumers. Commissions are usually around 30% of the order value meaning delivery partners end up taking a big chunk of a restaurants delivery income.
In fact, studies have shown that for many restaurant owners using a third-party delivery company means that delivering food is only minimally profitable and in some cases not profitable at all.
The issue is that setting up delivery options, creating your own delivery app, hiring a delivery team and making sure you have vehicles that are correctly insured can seem like a daunting and expensive prospect. And while industry news show your restaurant business will be better off in the long run by not using delivery partners this can be hard if you don’t have the ability to make the initial investment.
Choosing third-party delivery over in-house delivery means that restaurants are giving up control over delivery drivers, delivery times, and access to customers. If you hand-over delivering food to delivery staff that you have not trained you are less able to control how well food will be transported and the experience the customer is given when the food is handed over. It also becomes much more difficult to deal with any issues if you do not have direct contact with the customer.
For a delivery only restaurant using a third party delivery company could mean you never meet your customers and also don’t have any access to valuable customer data. Customer loyalty and retention is an important part of any restaurant business, delivery or otherwise, and keeping your delivery service in house gives you direct access to your customers allowing you to build loyal relationships and encourage repeat business rather than losing customers to competitors.
Benefits and Considerations of Starting Your Own Native Delivery Service
There are lots of benefits to adding delivery to your restaurant and to keeping operations in-house as well as a number of operational aspects to consider.
Having Trained Brand Ambassadors Available to Make Deliveries
One of the biggest benefits of in-house delivery using a native delivery app is that you get to build and train your own delivery team. Meaning your delivery drivers are loyal brand ambassadors rather than literal strangers who may or may not have the same values and commitment to customer service as you do.
When you recruit your own delivery staff you also get to build good and loyal relationships with them, making it much less likely that they will mishandle the food or even taste it as many delivery drivers for third-party delivery companies have admitted to doing.
Using existing staff members to make deliveries also means they can be dressed in your company uniform and deal directly with any issues improving both customer service and brand recognition.
The only problem with having your own delivery team is the same as staffing any part of your restaurant. Luckily this is ShiftPixy’s area of expertise. The ShiftPixy Native Delivery solution uses the same human capital management technology and combines it with route planning, direct real-time communication with customers, full insurance and a low transaction fee that doesn’t decimate profits.
Removing the need for delivery partners also gives greater control over delivery times and unlike when using an outside delivery company you have full accountability. Restaurants are able to track their delivery drivers knowing when they will be back at the premises and keeping customers up to date with their progress.
Keeping delivery in house also reduces the chance that customers will think of the delivery company before they think of your business. If the website or app they are ordering from, the packaging and the delivery driver are all directly associated with your restaurant business then providing you meet their expectations in terms of quality and service there is no reason they wouldn’t choose you next time they are looking for an at-home dining experience.
However if the order was placed through a third-party app they are the ones that have your customer data. This might mean they give offers that can be used at other restaurants or simply that customers notice a competitor they want to try while logging on to place an order.
Making sure you think about tipping staff and rewarding them for good service is also important as your delivery drivers might be the only face to face interaction you have with new customers.
Integrating or Upgrading your POS Systems
One of the benefits of providing a native delivery service is that orders can be taken and processed through your restaurant POS. ShiftPixy already works with a wide range of POS systems to ensure an integrated process that simplifies and streamlines procedures allowing for maximum efficiency and control.
Depending on the capabilities of existing POS solutions it may be necessary to upgrade your restaurant POS in time, but you can still make use of the ShiftPixy delivery solution to start your own service now, and upgrade systems when the time is right.
A good restaurant POS will allow for online ordering, the collection of customer data, and provide analysis and insights into customer trends, preferences and demographics that are not available when using third-party delivery companies.
Making Sure You Are Fully Insured and Compliant.
One of the biggest barriers to adding delivery to your existing restaurant operations and starting your own delivery service, other than issues around staffing, is the cost of commercial vehicle insurance and liability insurance.
There can be a high initial outlay to ensure your own vehicles or staff vehicles that will mean a certain number of delivery orders are needed in order to break even. ShiftPixy removes this obstacle by providing insurance and compliance on a per-ticket basis. Meaning you only have to pay for it when you are actually using it.
Unlike using a delivery service you maintain control over delivery and keep a higher percentage of profits.
Other Considerations When Adding Delivery to Your Restaurant
On top of staffing, finding and training delivery drivers, POS solutions and insurance and compliance there are a number of other areas to consider when starting your own delivery service.
Preparing food for delivery and takeout, whether that is drive thru, customer collection, a food truck or delivering food to people’s homes, requires packaging that will maintain food safety and food quality.
Insulated delivery bags are often provided by delivery services but if you choose to keep delivery in house you will need to make sure you have enough to fulfill your orders. Insulated delivery bags help to maintain food temperature during transit, and may be needed for both hot and cold foods.
Delivery staff including drivers and those packing food for delivery will need to be trained in how to handle and package food to ensure it arrives in optimal condition.
Designing a separate delivery menu is an important aspect in setting up a successful delivery service. It might be that not all items on your existing menu will work for delivery as you need to choose food that travels well. Making sure you maintain food quality will be more important in retaining customers than having a large number of options.
Delivery times are also important and having a simplified delivery menu will increase efficiency in the kitchen and reduce the time it takes to prepare orders which is important for collection, delivery or drive thru options.
You want to include as many customer favorites in your delivery menu as possible and it’s worth talking to both customers and staff about dishes and combinations they think would work.
Promoting Your Restaurant
If you are starting your own delivery service you will need to promote your restaurant to both new and existing customers. This could be as simple as telling your existing customers that you are now offering food and beverage for delivery or collection. Or distributing flyers to local areas that will be easy and convenient for you to deliver to.
Starting local and getting your feet wet can be a great way to test your restaurants delivery systems, developing a delivery menu of food that travels well, and training delivery staff.
Once you have introduced delivering food to your business model and ironed out any issues with delivery options, POS systems, delivery packaging and your delivery team you can then look to promote your restaurant to a wider audience knowing that you can provide customers with the service and food quality they expect.
Measure Your Results and Keep Reevaluating Policies and Procedures
Continually looking at results, feedback, and profits and making adjustments to improve your service will ensure you are successful when adding delivery to your restaurant. You can request feedback from customers and even employ the services of mystery shoppers to make sure delivery drivers are maintaining the high standards you expect. You’ve likely already got what it would take with your current resources to get your very own native delivery service to hit the ground running. Book a demo today!