Dining at home is more popular than ever, but that doesn’t mean all these meals are prepared in the home kitchen. The market for takeout and delivery is massive—expected to exceed $300 billion in the next 4-5 years, adding up to a tremendous opportunity for restaurants in a variety of formats, from quick service to fine dining.
The challenge with takeout and delivery is that it’s more challenging to control quality, and to meet (and exceed) the expectations of customers once the food has left the premises. Offering dishes and food items that can hold up in transit, carefully selecting packaging, and choosing the right delivery partners are among the critical decisions restaurants must make in order to truly deliver a great experience and protect their own brand reputation.
Basic brown paper or generic boxes just won’t do. Include restaurant on—or in—the packaging when sending customers out the door with takeout or upon home delivery. A logo sticker with a phone number and contact information is one option, or branded bags, napkins, or condiments can also help communicate your brand. Coupons, menus, and fliers outlining other services (like catering) encourage repeat orders.
Delight with Surprises
Little complimentary extras delight customers and keep them coming back (or calling back) for more. Popular items are mini condiment bottles and samples of unique or signature dishes from your regular menu.
Choose Your Delivery Partner Wisely
Once your dishes leave your premises, a lot of trust is involved. That’s why choosing a delivery partner carefully is so important. Third party delivery services are a great choice for many restaurants because setting up in-house delivery staff can be costly to implement and maintain (from staffing, to training, to restaurant space). But you must do your homework and choose a partner with a great reputation. Even though they don’t directly work for you, drivers are your customers’ last point of contact, and a bad experience with a driver translates to a bad review for you.
Friendly Customer Service
At all customer touchpoints, staff should remember that offsite customers are just as valuable—and deserving of friendly service—and dine-in patrons. Digital orders are becoming more common, but off-site customers are also likely to pick up the phone and call in an order. Phone etiquette skills shouldn’t be taken for granted, and training is wise—especially as the younger workforce has become more dependent on text-based interactions. A bad phone experience leaves an impression that’s hard to overcome if the customer doesn’t call back or come in.
Elevate your takeout and delivery business to delight customers, build a growing base of patrons, and make the most of this growing dining trend!
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