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By Carly Albright
COVID-19 spread across the world and hit restaurants hard. From London to Loch Lomond, British restaurants were told to shut down their dine-in services so that people could practice social distancing and slow the spread of the coronavirus. Across the country, however, restaurants could continue to operate by fulfilling orders via takeaway and delivery.
Even as things open up, you need to make sure your takeaway and delivery services are streamlined to offer customers an easy and enjoyable experience, as that’s a surefire way to keep people coming back – even during hard times.
In this article, we’ll share actionable advice to help you optimise your restaurant delivery services and takeaway options, including:
Let’s get started.
Perhaps COVID-19 is prompting you to launch restaurant delivery services and takeaway options for the first time ever. Maybe they’re already a part of your revenue stream and you want to make sure you’re making yourself accessible to customers through every channel possible.
Either way, restaurants are putting more into their takeaway and delivery options as a way to handle the slow down in business from social distancing and COVID-19.
Here’s an overview of the ways you can offer your customers restaurant takeaway and delivery services.
Here’s an overview of how to set up takeaway and delivery services for your restaurant customers.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you look at how to start a delivery service for your restaurant, check the government guidance. 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, placing an order from your takeaway menu and paying for it with the host. They wait inside the restaurant for the order to be prepared (or coming back in a few minutes) and take the order out with them.
All this restaurant takeaway method requires in terms of technology is an EPOS 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 venue cleaner – which is critical at a time like this. If you typically offer takeaway, you may already have a flow in place that you can optimise. 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 takeaway 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 venue 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 customers to wait for takeaway, 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 takeaway orders to the door for guests. Victor Hugo Deli in Edinburgh only permits three customers inside at any one time, while the Busby and Wilds in Brighton allows people to collect takeaway food “from a table with no direct contact required.”
Customers can also call in orders over the phone. This method requires customers to look up your menu online or reference a takeaway 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 takeaway or delivery, try to take payment over the phone to limit contact. If diners are paying in-store for takeaway, set payment terminals aside or in a certain area to minimise 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 indicate whether they want pick up or delivery.
Use an online ordering app that integrates with your EPOS 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 Uber Eats, JustEat, Deliveroo, 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 takeaway 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 towards your delivery services right now.
Here are our best tips for optimising your food delivery systems and restaurant takeaway 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 takeaway 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.
This limits the amount of people who have to come in contact with an order and keeps your staff in work, even if it’s shifting from their normal responsibilities. Just remember to check with your insurance provider to make sure staff are covered for these types of duties.
If you’re relying more on takeaway, 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 takeaway revenue stream that will outlive COVID-19.
If there’s any other topics that can help you manage your restaurant at this time, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the rest of our COVID-19 resources here.
Carly is the Global Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro. Her passions are eclectic and uncompromising. She is a self-declared connoisseur of chips and has travelled the world to discover its finest offerings.
By Katie McCann
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