Streamline Your Delivery Order Preparation
With COVID-19 forcing longer extensions of mass isolation measures, customers have turned to online ordering more than ever before. Delivery is an extremely popular method for getting groceries and food without facing potential infection outside.
Many restaurants offered delivery before all the virus struck. However, they often didn’t pay as much attention to that aspect of the business in favor of the real money-maker: dine-in services (cloud kitchens, of course, rely on delivery as their only line of profit and thus already have it down to a science). However, even once the world at large returns to business as usual, managers and owners should aim to streamline their delivery services, not only to maximize efficiency but because that will subsequently maximize their profits.
Now more than ever, making your delivery preparations as quick and efficient as possible is a necessity, both to meet the growing demand for that service and to make up for the significant profit reduction most restaurants feel from losing dine-in services.
Here are some tips for optimizing your restaurants’ system for delivery:
Use a Third Party Delivery Service
Most of time, when a restaurant chooses to add delivery to its dine-in and pick-up services, they want to launch their own online ordering system so customers buy directly from them. This drives traffic on their website and avoids any potential fees that come from partnering with a third party.
However, putting your restaurant on a third party platform has advantages too. By using services like Postmates and Uber Eats, or any one of the myriad of options out there, you significantly cut start-up costs by reducing the time and energy spent building brand awareness. Instead, you immediately get the benefits of demand; with platforms like these, your target audience comes built in. Thus you don’t have to invest as much in advertising because these services market themselves, though you should still have an online and social media marketing campaign strategy to reach users who don’t use these apps. It’s also easier and faster to use one of these platforms than to design your own website or even modify your existing one, both of which cost time and money.
Create a New Delivery Menu
Designing a menu specifically tailored for delivery will ease your cooks’ workload and improve customer satisfaction. Despite the time and effort spent designing the perfect menu to epitomize your restaurant, not every signature dish will travel well to customers’ homes. No matter the reason, poor food quality can have a negative impact on your reputation and even lead to bad reviews online. Consider creating a delivery-only menu borne from variations of what you normally offer, prioritizing items that travel well and potentially even need less complicated prep. This will help cooks fill orders faster which in turns gets the meal out to the delivery driver more quickly. Customers appreciate short waiting times, which gives you an edge over your competition.
With COVID-19 forcing restaurants to shut down their most profitable services, you can temporarily do away with your regular menu entirely and retrain your kitchen staff to optimize the delivery process. For example, have one cook focus on making pizza and another handle all of the packaging, who can also hand food off to drivers. This will require a shift of responsibilities amongst staff but will ultimately ensure that each one gets more efficient at their individual tasks. Delegating specific tasks to specific employees also reduces human contact between staff members to avoid the potential spread of germs.
Cook in Bulk
Kitchen staff might spend a lot of time making the same order again, and again, and again especially with your more popular dishes. Rather than repeatedly making individual portions of the same dish, they can cut time out of the process by making larger batches and divvying it up into separate to-go containers. This cuts down on preliminary prep time and packaging, as cooks don’t need to create the same order multiple times or store food separately.
If delivery has you really busy nowadays, they could also cook items that keep well early in the day so that chefs don’t need to spend time on those dishes during busier hours.
Develop a consistent prep time
This takes practice. Once a cook works for you long enough, they’ll grow familiar with the menu and will have made each dish enough times to know the swiftest and most efficient way to prepare it. Knowing how long a meal will take allows you to give an accurate estimate to customers about when their order will arrive. This strengthens customer satisfaction, and also reduces how long drivers must wait before they can pick up an order, allowing them to optimize their time as well.
Overall, understanding how long a dish takes to make lets workers and customers plan accordingly, hastens the process and makes it easier on everyone.
With delivery more important than ever, these simple tips can improve your operations, cut down on wasted effort and save you money in a time when doing so is so crucial for the food service industry as a whole. Streamlining delivery—now your most important asset—can earn you the audience you need and keep everyone happy, customers and staff alike.
With demand for delivery rising, now’s the time to experiment with better efficiency.
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