Many restaurants want to be able to serve all customers by offering dine-in, take-out and delivery. Dine-in and take-out are pretty straight forward and easy to offer; however, delivery has its share of challenges ranging from staffing to accepting payments at the door. Building a thriving delivery customer base certainly takes time and consistently good service. Below are four things to consider if you are thinking of offering delivery at your restaurant.
1. Promoting Delivery
There are many free or relatively low-cost methods to promote that delivery is now available from your restaurant. A few inexpensive or free suggestions:
- Updating your website
- Posting weekly on social media sites you participate in
- Post signs within the restaurant
- Attach a notification about delivery to every take-out order
- Have a tent card on the table for dine-in customers
Update existing advertising when the campaigns become due for renewal. Rather than recycling old take-out menus that are lacking with delivery promotion, consider launching delivery when the menu supply runs low or add a sticker to the out-dated menu.
Adding online ordering to your website can be beneficial. This will prompt user to select ‘take-out’ or ‘delivery’ while placing an order which will make them aware of the options. Some online ordering systems include collecting customer email address which can help you to reach out to your existing customer base about promotions, specials, events, coupons and the fact that your restaurant now offers delivery.
2. Accepting Payments at the Door
Consider that most customers at your restaurants pay with debit or credit card. The same will be true while accepting payments at the door. Customers expect that restaurants will accept debit cards at the door with long-range wireless debit terminals. Long-range debit terminals work on a cellular networks and are typically more costly than the wireless machines for use within the restaurant. Expect to pay between $50-$75 per terminal plus the usual transaction fees.
You may decide to only accept credit cards over the phone and cash at the door. To save time and headaches with incorrect credit card numbers, check out some of the new companies offering card readers. These card readers work through a smart phone app and plug into the axillary jack of the smart phone. Fees per transaction are around 2.7%-2.9%, many have no monthly fee.
3. Thermal Food Bags
Delivering food piping hot will help with creating repeat delivery customers. It is not necessary to purchase a fancy food bags that are self heated with a 12V car plug-in. Choosing the correct size food bag is more important.
If the food bag is too large the meal will heat the air in the bag instead of keeping the meal warm. Pizza restaurants should have a food bag that fits 3-4 of the largest sized pizzas they offer. Restaurants offering the typical ‘Chinese food delivery’ packaging style should opt for a bag that is approximately 12″ (wide) X 16″ (high) X 30″ (long). Ensure you have a food bag that will accommodate every type of take-out packaging you offer.
4. Delivery Drivers and Delivery Insurance
Using the dishwasher as the delivery driver will serve as a short-term solution while you get the delivery concept off the ground; however, the dishwasher plays a key role in keeping the kitchen and servers running smoothly during peak times.
If you decide to hire the dishwasher, it is likely you will be supplying the vehicle as well. Talk to your local insurance broker about additional delivery insurance that you may need to add to protect your vehicle. Delivery insurance is commonly required due to the amount of hours on the road resulting in more accidents.
You may want to hire a delivery service or a contract driver. You will be able to call and pay only when you have a delivery. Consider offering a ‘on call’ rate when hiring contract driver of your own if the volume is still inconsistent or only around 2-3 per night. The driver turn over rate will be high unless there is some incentive or guaranteed earnings available.