Should My Restaurant Offer Delivery?

From phone calls and websites to apps and even tweets, there are more ways than ever to order food without leaving your living room. Thanks to these hassle-free ordering options, food delivery has steadily gained popularity among consumers. Whether the COVID-19 pandemic pushed you to consider offering online delivery or you considered it long before 2020, there’s no better time than now to launch a delivery service.

In this article, we’ll explore (i) why delivery has become so popular, (ii) the importance of offering customers a delivery option and (iii) how to start a food delivery service. If you’ve been wondering how to add delivery to your restaurant, this article is for you!

Rise of Food Delivery

Food delivery has taken the food industry by storm thanks to modern technologies. Customers can now easily complete online orders and receive food at their homes more quickly than ever.

In the past, the most common way for customers to place a takeout order was to place an order in-person, wait for the restaurant to prepare the order, and receive the order at the checkout counter. Online ordering completely transformed this process. Now customers can place orders from the comfort of their own home and receive delicious food without ever stepping outside.

In the Digital Age, convenience and timeliness are key. Today food delivery meets the demands by quickly providing customers their orders with minimal hassle. Innovation in online food delivery has resulted in a 23% annual rate of online orders since 2013.

Food delivery sales are projected to grow to $200 billion by 2025 as consumers prioritize order-in options over dine-in and pick-up services. The global food delivery market is expected to grow by more than 20% each year to a $365 billion industry in 2030.

A major contribution to the rise of delivery services is the development of delivery apps. Online food delivery apps allow customers to order directly from their favorite restaurants at the press of a button. Apps also provide restaurants the flexibility to use native menu platforms or partner with third-party platforms.

Food delivery was already growing at a remarkable rate prior to 2020 — but the COVID-19 pandemic skyrocketed the popularity of food-delivery. The demand for food delivery services is higher than ever as more people remain at home due to COVID-19 restrictions. Restaurants that leveraged virtual ordering tools experienced an 840% increase in weekly online sales orders since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Food delivery has become more than mere convenience and timeliness — it is a matter of health and safety. Many restaurants offer no-contact delivery services. By going contactless, restaurants can protect their customers and workers and still provide top-quality food service.

And with COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines for restaurants and bars from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still in effect, restaurants around the country are still relying on delivery to boost their revenue. Considering the perks of home delivery and the safety benefits of contactless tactics, the trend toward online ordering and delivery is unlikely to fade out any time soon.

Importance of Delivery for Restaurants

Given the rise of delivery in recent years, it is crucial for restaurants to get on board with the takeout trend.

1. Stay Ahead of the Competition

The food industry is constantly evolving to meet ever-changing consumer demands. Food businesses must stay abreast of market trends and keep ahead of competition to retain current customers and attract new clients.

So how can you gain insight into customer preferences in restaurants? One clear way is to expand your online food delivery services. Check the numbers. Using an online ordering system can help restaurants grow revenue by 30%. Providing online food delivery options online helps your restaurant appeal to more takeout customers and stay ahead of the delivery curve.

2. Convenience to Customers

We live in a fast-paced world. From online shopping to working remotely, people have fully embraced the 21st-century lifestyle of convenience. In our hectic world online food orders represent the preferred option for meals for a sizable segment of the market. As a result, online ordering is essential for modern-day restaurants.

Restaurants must keep up with these trends and adapt to the Digital Age by offering online delivery options. In 2020, more than half of restaurant spending is predicted to be “off-premise” (meaning sales will be completed outside the restaurant). Revenue through delivery and takeout is projected to overtake dine-in sales for the first time on record. To avoid being left in the dust, restaurants must adapt and offer delivery services to suit the busy lifestyles of the modern-day consumer.

3. Gain New Revenue Streams

Online ordering and delivery aren’t just for pizza and Chinese takeout anymore. With opportunities like food delivery apps and contactless curbside pickup, more and more traditionally dine-in restaurants are offering takeout services for every type of cuisine.

Online ordering and delivery systems offer restaurants an ideal additional revenue stream. Online delivery platforms attract more customers and ultimately result in a better bottom line for food businesses.

4. Combat Declining Foot Traffic

Online delivery is a dependable future source of revenue as foot traffic to brick-and-mortar restaurants decreases. Restaurants are experiencing a steady decline in foot traffic — decreasing their dine-in sales by about 3% each year — even before COVID-19. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, restaurant foot traffic has dropped by least 83%.

Meanwhile, food delivery sales have grown three times (3x) faster than dine-in traffic numbers since 2014. With an increasing consumer demand for delivery services and an unclear outlook on when it will be safe for restaurants to return to their full indoor seating capacity again, delivery is a safe bet for maximizing revenue.

5. Expand Customer Base

Millennials have overtaken baby boomers as the largest generation in America according to U.S. Census. With 72M+ millennials in the U.S., young people are an increasingly important demographic for restaurants. This market segment places a premium on instant accessibility and convenience. Translation: Online food delivery is a huge appeal to millennials and a must for modern-day restaurants.

Offering delivery services through a third-party app helps gain your restaurant new millennial customers who may otherwise avoid (or be unaware of) your services. Because many members of the younger generations prefer food delivery apps that offer variety and convenience, partnering with a third-party app could give your restaurant the platform it needs to attract more consumers and expand its customer base.

6. Enhance Restaurant Marketing

Delivery services provide your restaurant with the opportunity to revamp its marketing campaign. Website and social media posts about new delivery options help catch customers’ eyes and generate renewed interest in your restaurant’s services. Third-party apps also act as a great marketing tool as consumers unfamiliar with your restaurant see your restaurant listing when scrolling.

Your restaurant can also boost its marketing by offering delivery-only deals to draw in more cost-conscious customers. Even your restaurant’s delivery packaging can double as marketing material with customized packing stickers or branded boxes.

7. Protect Health and Safety

No-contact delivery is now one of the safest options to obtain your meals (especially in the age of COVID-19). Your restaurant can continue its success and protect its customers and staff by offering contactless delivery and takeout services that adhere to CDC safety guidelines. Delivery helps restaurants maintain social distancing and adhere to safety regulations while remaining open for business.

How to Set up Delivery for Your Restaurant

Now that you know how important online food delivery is for your restaurant, let’s talk about how to start offering delivery! Keep these five (5) factors in mind as you roll out your restaurant’s new delivery options:

1. Designate a Delivery Space

Section off a place within your restaurant for delivery drivers to pick up orders. This allows drivers to bypass non-driver customers and reduce their delivery time. You can also use the sectioned-off space as a carry-out area for customers who pick up to-go orders. Such measures reduce customer wait times and enhance customers’ takeout experience.

To further reduce wait times, designate an area of your restaurant to serve as a station for employees to package delivery and takeout orders.

2. Optimize Your Menu for Delivery

Not all foods are optimized for delivery. Certain menu items must be kept hot or cold. Some food items get soggy. And some simply don’t travel well.

Streamline your delivery menu to focus on foods that won’t spill or spoil during transport. Optimizing foods for delivery boosts your restaurant’s reputation as a high-quality takeout spot.

Creating a separate delivery menu also helps your staff by simplifying the preparation and packaging processes. A delivery-focused menu allows restaurant staff members to fill delivery orders more efficiently and complete more orders per day.

3. Invest in Quality Branded Packaging for Delivery of Food Items

Restaurants should prepare for an influx of delivery and takeout orders. Make sure your restaurant stocks up on packaging items like to-go containers, disposable utensils, napkins, cups, lids and portable condiments. Prevent potential messes by investing in sturdy packaging that  securely holds food in place. Consider insulated food delivery bags to ensure food arrives fresh and at the proper temperature.

Also consider branded packaging to promote your restaurant. Unique packaging drives brand awareness and increases repeat customers. Using tamper-free packaging stickers can also assure customers that their order was delivered safely.

4. Ensure You Have Technology and Staff in Place to Deal With Delivery Orders

Consider updating your Point of Sales (POS) system to accommodate a sudden increase in delivery orders and avoid logistical confusion. You will also want to update your restaurant’s website to offer online ordering or create an app to take mobile orders and accept touchless payment. These efforts reduce customer wait time and simplify staff operations.

Restaurant staff should be trained to handle more delivery orders. Make sure in-house delivery drivers are trained on how to place the food in their cars to avoid spills and interact with customers. Your restaurant’s takeout order packaging team will also need to be trained on how to fill orders efficiently while maintaining health and safety standards.

5. Consider Third-Party Food Delivery Apps

While some restaurants use their own independent platforms and apps for mobile ordering, partnering with a third-party food delivery app can offer an effective way to appeal to more customers. On third-party platforms, customers have the luxury of scrolling through a variety of restaurants that offer their delivery services through the app. This buffet of options makes consumers more likely to use a third-party app than to download numerous restaurant-specific apps.

Here are three of the most popular options for third-party app partners:

  1. DoorDash
  2. Grubhub
  3. UberEats

In addition to increasing your brand’s visibility and sales, working with a third-party service saves you from having to hire and train your own delivery drivers. Customers will also appreciate your restaurant’s accessibility on a third-party delivery platform if that app offers special deals or the chance to earn points and rewards. These rewards programs inspire repeat orders, which means more customer retention for you.

Expand Your Delivery Capabilities With Revolving Kitchen

Revolving Kitchen can help your restaurant offer its customers exceptional delivery options! By allowing restaurants to rent clean, fully equipped, top-quality commercial kitchen space, cloud kitchens are a convenient and cost-effective option for restaurants looking to improve their delivery services. Instead of paying high prices for a brick-and-mortar restaurant, renting a cloud kitchen space allows you to use up-to-code kitchens with modern amenities at a fraction of the cost.

Revolving Kitchen sets itself apart from other cloud kitchens by offering private kitchen space for both long-term use and short-term rentals. If you’re interested in expanding your delivery services in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, contact Revolving Kitchen about scheduling a facility tour. Explore our spacious cloud kitchens available for rent and find out how Revolving Kitchen can help boost your delivery services today.