Delivery has come into its own in 2020. COVID-19 has caused a significant shift throughout the food and hospitality industry. While businesses have lost dine-in custom, they’ve seen far greater demand for takeout and delivery. This has further led to a shift in the types of food being delivered. The choice is no longer between pizza and curry, now you can get everything from a burger to a gourmet brunch; it’s a trend that was emerging pre-pandemic but has been sped up by circumstance.
Not only has the type of food being delivered changed, but the pattern of delivery is evolving too. Once a staple of Friday and Saturday night, orders are being placed more regularly as brands concentrate on driving revenues throughout the week. There are also fewer late-night orders as curfews reduce the post-pub traffic, and more early evening as families enjoy takeaway together.
CGA data has shown that adults aged between 18 and 24 have increased the number of food delivery orders they place by 60% during the pandemic, and a quarter intend to.
The National Restaurant Association in the USA has also released survey data. It found sixty percent of baby boomers said they ordered takeout or delivery for dinner last week – up from just 41% in late-February. Sixty-six percent of Gen-Xers purchased takeout or delivery for dinner last week – up 8 percentage points from the last week in February.
With operations streamlined through the use of ordering technology, staff are freed up to manage the delivery process. This has made delivery a realistic prospect for small, as well as larger brands. Nonetheless, before providing the service, it’s worth planning how best to offer it to customers.
Like any new operation, successful delivery is a question of logistics. Customer expectations are high – they want their food quickly, and for it to be just as good quality and as fresh as they would find in your restaurant. Today’s consumers are not forgiving of cold food or sloppy packaging.
Four tips for ‘delivering’ a successful service
- A strong internet connection is a must
It may seem a basic tip, but good delivery experience relies on prompt and accurate communication. Delays in receiving or sending messages and ordering information is the difference between a prompt, smooth ordering journey, and one that is not repeated by the customer.
- Work with drivers you can trust
As soon as the food leaves your premises, you no longer have control over the quality of the food. You can provide the best packaging, use the best delivery management software, but if your driver behaves irresponsibly, damages the food or arrives late, it’s your brand that will suffer. That why using your own drivers will always be preferable to working with a third party. You want drivers that know your brand, know your food and get to know your regular customers. Good delivery staff can be great brand ambassadors.
- Have a clearly defined process
You can use the best technology suite, employ the best marketing and work with the drivers in the world, but without clear processes in place internally, your delivery service will eventually fail.
Plan by mapping out every perceivable ordering and delivery scenario – how will you prioritise different drivers? Who will make decisions and respond to in-delivery challenges? How will communication between restaurant staff and drivers be managed? These questions and more will act as your risk assessment, enabling you to tackle challenges swiftly if and when they arise.
- Ensure staff buy-in
The most common source of chaos in a delivery service is when staff and/or drivers are confused by the system in use and/or are not following protocol. When you first introduce an ordering and delivery technology, it’s vital that you put time into proper training for team members, ensure their awareness and understanding. Be transparent in your communication; let staff know about new technology before it’s implemented, explain what you are trying to achieve and ensure you have their buy-in.
Talk to Theravada today about launching an ordering and delivery service at your restaurant or hospitality business. Our expert team can guide you towards the best software for your brand.