Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the current state of the restaurant industry has taken a sharp pivot to pickup and delivery services. As more and more states issue orders to shut down dine-in services to limit the spread of the virus, take out and delivery have become the only option for restaurants to make any profit during this trying time. Whether you own a quick-service restaurant or a fine-dining restaurant, this is the time to implement a new business plan that focuses on take out and delivery options to meet the demand of the moment. Don’t know where to start? Here are 5 tips to increase pickup and delivery orders during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Create Confidence Amongst Customers
It’s important during this sensitive time to take extra precautions when preparing and delivering food to customers. Informing customers on the preventive steps your establishment is taking to create a sanitary environment helps instill confidence in them. Customers will be comforted knowing that their food has been prepared with additional safety precautions, which increases the chance that they will order from your restaurant in the future.
- Expand on your already-established food safety rules by providing your staff with protective clothing such as disposable gloves and masks to eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus.
- Increase the frequency of sanitation procedures by implementing frequent hand washing and disinfecting of surfaces that come into contact with outside supplies.
According to both the CDC and FDA, there is no current evidence of food being associated with COVID-19 transmission. While this may be true, taking additional safeguards to prevent the spread of the virus ensures that your kitchen and staff are safe and healthy while easing any anxieties that customers may have when ordering take out.
2. Find The Right Ordering Method For You
Whether your business already offers take out services or you’re newly implementing delivery options, choosing the best method to provide pickup and delivery for your establishment is an essential step.
In-House Delivery Options
Creating your own delivery option for customers to order directly from your establishment may take some effort, but it can eliminate commission fees from third-party apps that cut into your razor-thin margins.
- Provide a phone number for customers to either call in or text their orders. This way you can speak to your customers directly and easily adjust their orders to their specific preferences while also updating them on the progress of their order.
- Create a website for take out orders. Though this option entails some sophisticated coding skills, in the long run, it will allow customers to easily order meals. Creating your own website will withstand the current climate and become extremely useful for your business once this virus passes.
Third-Party Food Delivery Apps
If you’ve never considered utilizing third-party apps to streamline your delivery services, now is the time. Even though this is an unfortunate setting, we’re fortunate that food delivery apps are making changes to their systems to encourage customers to order meals for pickup and delivery during this pandemic.
- Offering no-contact deliveries options. Food delivery apps are giving customers the ability to choose no-contact deliveries where the courier leaves their meals at the door. This feature diminishes person-to-person contact and lessens the chance of spreading the virus.
- Waiving delivery fees for local restaurants. Some third-party apps have waived delivery fees to incentivize customers to order from restaurants that would otherwise be more costly.
3. Reduce Person-to-Person Contact
According to the CDC, the main transmitter of spreading COVID-19 is from person-to-person contact. They recommend remaining six feet away from others to avoid exposure to respiratory droplets that may carry the virus. With this in mind, it is important to designate no-contact pickup areas for both pickup customers and delivery drivers at your foodservice establishment.
- Organize your no-contact pickup area by separating each third-party food delivery service as well as customer pickup.
- Clearly label each take out bag with the delivery method and customer name or order number for customers and drivers to easily locate their orders.
- Make sure the designated pickup area is far enough from your kitchen and staff to lessen the chance of the virus spreading in your establishment and to couriers and customers.
4. Use Tamperproof Packaging
Consider using take out supplies that are equipped with a tamperproof seal to show customers that their meals are protected.
The tamperproof packaging gives customers the confidence of knowing that their meals have not been opened, while ensuring that couriers are not spreading the virus as they come into contact with other restaurants and customers during their deliveries.
5. Adjust Menu Items For Easy Transport
From fine-dining restaurants to fast-casual restaurants, now is the time to rework your menu to make meals that are suitable for deliveries, even if that means starting from square one. Considering the unique situation we’re in, it’s important to create meals that meet the demand of this moment.
Choose The Right Packaging
If your restaurant is best known for its perfect medium-rare steak, that’s great, but it’s not the best item that can be easily contained and is guaranteed to make it from your restaurant to your customer in one piece.
- Produce handheld meals such as wraps, sandwiches, burgers, and more that can be easily wrapped up with food packaging for deliveries.
- If your meals are liquid- or oil-based, such as saucy or fried foods, it’s important to find take out supplies that can effectively contain them without creating a mess during deliveries.
Offer Family-Style Meals
As everyone is trying their best to make it through each day, they’re thinking ahead to try to make each meal they have last as long as possible. Large, family-style portions are great options to offer customers because they can be easily stored in the fridge, reheated in the oven, and feed multiple people at a time.
Make meals that can be easily served to large amounts of people such as salads, pasta, and family-size portions of your bestselling entrees. Though these options may seem standard, putting your restaurant’s signature twist on them will satisfy your customers’ needs while incorporating your business’ creativity.
Offer Meals That Are Easy To Execute
In the uncertain world of COVID-19, it may not be so easy to keep a bulk supply of ingredients that you would typically use on a day-to-day basis. Working with the supplies you have on hand is the best and most efficient way to create menu items that customers want while saving your business money by utilizing ingredients you have already paid for.
- Review your inventory and create a calendar for the week of the meals you can create with what you currently have. Don’t get stuck in the idea of having a set menu.
- Get creative with the ingredients you have and make dishes that would otherwise not be on your menu but are great for supplying the current demand for take out.