2020 was a huge year for off-premise dining. Restaurants had to do whatever they could to survive. For some that meant stepping up their already hot delivery game using the latest tech. But for many full-service restaurants, bars, and other venues that are all about the in-house experience, that meant getting more creative.
We saw restaurants delivering groceries, meal kits, and multi-course dinners to assemble at home, and bars offering takeout drinks packages and cocktail kits, among other new ideas.
Many had never thought about offering delivery as a channel before because it just wasn’t right for their brand of food and service.
But something interesting happened when almost every restaurant was forced into using different channels to reach customers...
Many customers that joined Deliverect having not previously offered delivery told us that the results from delivery and pick-up orders were so good, they would continue using these channels even as dining rooms reopened.
In fact, many were so grateful for takeout orders helping them survive, they are now looking at how they can expand upon this and incorporate delivery channels into their long-term strategies.
We learned a valuable lesson from this that we wanted to share with other restaurants. There could be a huge revenue boost to be gained from delivery and takeout orders, without compromising on customer experience and quality.
In fact, there are a ton of tools and tricks that can help you recreate your in-house dining experience for customers at home. By taking advantage of the flexibility and opportunity offered by tech platforms coupled with a little ingenuity.
First, let’s look at why many restaurants didn’t think delivery would ever suit their style.
Many fine-dining restaurants, bars, and bistros put a huge amount of effort into the in-house customer experience. They might have a specific atmosphere with signature music, decor, or service. Many found a way to convey this even for takeout orders.
Leo’s Group runs pubs and restaurants in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada. The team never considered delivery an appropriate channel as the brand was built upon the unique spaces the team created and the warm, homey atmosphere that the service staff worked hard to produce.
On top of that, they had tiny kitchens that weren’t equipped to deal with a huge number of orders from a different channel and much of their revenue was coming from alcohol sales, so they didn’t ever think delivery would work for them.
But 2020 forced the group to reevaluate everything and they signed up with Deliverect to find a way to offer their unique brand of hospitality to customers at home.
Using third-party delivery partners, and with Deliverect organizing and managing everything coming in, the team was able to adapt and pivot to add a successful delivery channel.
In fact, it was so successful that they decided to keep offering takeout orders even when dining rooms reopened in the area.
“Now we’re seeing it as this great additional revenue stream,” Carly Gowan, Director of Corporate Affairs for the group explains, “Even when we’re back at 100%, we clearly want to continue with it because we’re seeing significant growth there and we’re really excited about it.”
But how do you recreate the great atmosphere and quality of your food for off-premises orders?
When you get your creative hat on and start to picture your guests receiving orders, you may find a host of ideas come to mind for making the experience as good or better at home as it is in the restaurant. The aim is to delight customers to make up for the fact you can’t offer your in-house experience directly.
Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
You could add whimsical instructions to the takeout bag such as how to plate the dish as your chefs would or brand-specific activities to add a bit of fun.
Play around with the packaging. Think about what you could do to personalize takeout bags or boxes, or turn them into a game or puzzle. If you serve families with kids in the restaurant, include crayons or toys to keep them occupied as you might at the table.
If your in-house experience is all about the music and atmosphere, why not create custom playlists that guests can put on at home? And give them some decorations to put up around the room or fancy-dress items to wear.
Don’t forget to include calls to action as part of the experience to get feedback for future improvements and encourage repeat custom.
It’s no wonder pizza is a more popular takeout dish than noodle soup. Some dishes just don’t travel well. But many dishes can be modified to retain quality after taking a trip on the back of a bike.
Separating the elements of Vietnamese pho noodle soup for example means you can deliver a hot soup, springy noodles and crisp fresh herbs and garnishes, for the customer to assemble at home.
Multi-course fine-dining menus sometimes work best as cook-at-home meal kits. Turn the chore of cooking your own food into an experience by including instructions from your chefs. Maybe even a video course so the customers get something rather than it taking away from the experience.
It’s usually wise to slim down your menu for delivery and only include dishes that will be as good at home as in the restaurant.
If you’ve never offered delivery before, or even if you’ve tried it but found the organizational side a nightmare, there is help out there.
Deliverect is your friend when it comes to delivery. The platform was built specifically to avoid the common issues that restaurants run into:
Multiple orders coming in from different sources
Tablet juggling at the tills
Kitchen chaos with orders flying in from every angle
Deliverect takes in all the orders from different delivery partners and your own ordering apps and organizes them into one manageable dashboard.
All the orders are pushed automatically to your POS system so that your staff don’t have to re-punch orders and risk making mistakes. The orders are then sent to the kitchen in a clear format so that chefs are on top of things in the back-of-house.
Deliverect even helps with menu changes. Instead of contacting each delivery partner to make updates or mark dishes as sold out, you are in control of everything from the central dashboard. Make changes once in Deliverect and they will be updated across all the platforms and partners.
At Deliverect, we’ve helped thousands of restaurants maximize their opportunities in 2020 by opening up new channels and optimizing their off-premises order management.
2021 looks set to see delivery, takeout, and curbside pickup continue to grow in importance. Restaurants must be looking to make the most of these channels if they want to survive and thrive at this uncertain time.
Like many others who thought delivery and takeout wasn’t appropriate, you might just discover a brand new channel that adds a ton of new revenue to your business. Our team can show exactly how the system works and give you an idea of the opportunities open to you.
To see how your restaurant can make the most of off-premise orders, get in touch to request a demo today.
Freelance B2B Food & Restaurant Tech Writer
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