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By Dana Krook
COVID-19 has hit restaurants hard. From Los Angeles to Montreal, North American cities have required restaurants to shut down or limit their dine-in services so that people can practice social distancing and slow the spread of the coronavirus. In many areas, however, restaurants can continue to operate by fulfilling orders via takeout and delivery.
For restaurants to survive during these difficult times, they must do everything they can to ensure their takeout and delivery processes are efficient. We’re sharing tips for how you can optimize your restaurant delivery services and takeout options to weather the storm.
In this article you’ll get:
Above all else, remember to make the safety of your customers and your staff the first priority.
Perhaps COVID-19 is inspiring you to launch restaurant delivery services and takeout options for the first time ever. Maybe those are already established revenue streams in your business and you want to make sure that you’re making yourself accessible to customers through every channel possible.
Either way, restaurants are putting more into their takeout and delivery options as a way to handle the slow down in business from social distancing and COVID-19.
Here’s an overview of how to set up delivery services for your restaurant customers.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you look at how to start a delivery service for your restaurant, check local mandates. You need to make sure that you are allowed to offer these services, and then follow safety protocol to slow the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to operate.
Walk-in takeaway orders work by customers coming to your restaurant, looking at your takeout menu, placing an order and paying for it with the host, waiting inside the restaurant for the order to be prepared (or coming back in a few minutes), and taking the order out with them.
All this restaurant takeout method requires in terms of technology is a POS system.
If you choose to continue walk-in orders, there are some safety precautions you will want to take, including:
1) An assigned area for people to wait in to prevent spread of germs and encourage distance from your team (six feet, or two metres, is recommended).
This not only protects diners, but also protects your team and keeps your store cleaner – which is critical at a time like this. If you typically offer takeout, you may already have a flow in place that you can optimize. Label the area, set physical boundaries (for example, block off with chairs), and make it clear where customers will get their orders from to avoid coming too close to staff.If this is a new practice at your restaurant – since so many businesses are pivoting to offer takeout at this time – all of the tips above will apply as well, but you’ll want to consider how the flow of this works. Is the kitchen at the very back of your restaurant? You may have to assign one person to bring orders to the front (or even the door) and leave them at a set area to avoid people coming into your restaurant.
2) Limiting the number of people allowed in the store at any given time to avoid overcrowding and the spread of germs.This pairs nicely with the above point – if you have a small area set aside for waiting for takeout, you have to limit the people in it. This idea of limiting the number of people in an area was seen at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, as restaurants operated at half or quarter capacity.You can put signage on your door telling guests exactly how many people are allowed in at any time or opt to lock doors and bring takeout orders to the door for guests. Bake Shoppe, a Toronto based bakery, is continuing their takeout options this way. Guests order ahead of time, knock on the door, and their order is brought to them after confirming their details.
Customers can also call in orders over the phone. This method requires customers to look up your menu online or reference a takeout menu they already have, then call your restaurant to place an order.
If they want to pick up the order, they’ll go to your restaurant to make a payment and pick up the order. If they want delivery, they’ll give you their address and either your delivery driver or a third-party driver will fulfill the order and collect payment.
Make it even easier for customers to place orders from their smartphones by giving them the ability to text in orders. Set up a free Google Voice phone number and let customers know that they can text that number to place an order.
With phone orders for takeout or delivery, try to take payment over the phone to limit contact. If diners are paying in-store for takeout, set payment terminals aside or in a certain area to minimize contact with counter staff. Encourage contactless payments where possible (more on this below).
If you have the technical capabilities, you can receive orders directly through your restaurant’s website. This option lets customers see the menu online, order and pay through your website, and designate whether they want pick up or delivery.
Use an online ordering app that integrates with your POS system so that your kitchen can automatically receive a ticket for the order.
Restaurants can also let customers place orders through third-party apps like Grubhub, Postmates, Uber Eats, Caviar, DoorDash, Ritual, and more. Some of these platforms have discounted or waived their fees to help restaurants during this time.
With these apps, customers place orders and make payments through these providers, and then it’s up to your restaurant to fulfill the orders. Some third-party apps offer their own delivery drivers. Customers can also pick up orders they place through these apps.
For online ordering through your own website and third-party apps, see if you can implement safer takeout and delivery practices to help limit contact and encourage social distancing. Some methods that have gained popularity include:
It may seem overwhelming as you shift your business model into putting more into your delivery services during these uncertain times.
Here are our best tips for optimizing your food delivery systems and restaurant takeout services during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep your business going without compromising the health and safety of your customers and staff.
These tips apply to both takeout and delivery offerings during the coronavirus outbreak.
Here’s how to make your food delivery system safe and appealing to customers during these difficult times.
If you’re relying more on takeout, here are the ways to make the most of it while keeping staff and diners safe.
With appropriate safety measures and some creative marketing, you can keep your restaurant running amidst the coronavirus crisis. Put these measures in place now, and you’ll have a thriving delivery and takeout revenue stream that will outlive COVID-19.
If there are any other topics that can help you manage your restaurant at this time, reach out to us at email@example.com or check out the rest of our COVID-19 resources here.
Dana is the former Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, sharing tips for and stories of restaurateurs turning their passion into success. She loves homemade hot sauce, deep fried pickles and finding excuses to consume real maple syrup.
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