So you’ve decided to become part of the future of the food industry and start online delivery – congrats! But how to approach delivery to get the best results? What’s really important to customers? We’ll give you the rundown on what online food delivery customers value most to make sure you deliver the experience they’re looking for.

Keep it quick & easy

The online food delivery industry was born out of a love of convenience. That means every aspect of your delivery operations should make things as easy and fast as possible for your customers. It starts with easy-to-read, clear menus that let people see at a glance what they can order. 

“People are very specific when they’re searching for food, and they’re looking to find it fast.” 

You might be tempted to get really creative with titles or include complicated descriptions, but it’s better to keep them clear and simple so that people quickly get what you’re offering. People are very specific when they’re searching for food, and they’re looking to find it fast. So if you sell different types of products, consider segmenting them into different brands to increase your discoverability. For example, if you’re a sushi restaurant that also makes poke bowls, you could set up a separate poke shop online to help those poke lovers find you more easily. 

 

What they see is what you deliver

While you’ll want to use photos that attractively showcase the food, it’s important to be able to really deliver what’s on display.

Someone taking a picture of their food

Nothing’s more disappointing to a customer than seeing a glossy photo of a perfectly presented meal and ending up with a soggy mess in a Styrofoam container instead. Different laws of nature apply to delivery food than to what’s served in the restaurant, and some of your most delectable restaurant offerings won’t travel well. So don’t be afraid to diverge from your restaurant menu and focus on dishes that are more delivery-proof. 

Also consider the type of packaging you use: French fries turn into a sogfest when you put them in a closed carton, and containers that are too big can make a meal lose its form and look smaller. For customers it’s all about getting value for their money. And that means: what they see is what they get.

 

Custom orders = happy customers

Let’s face it: today’s customers want to have their cake and eat it too. Oh yeah, and they want their cake gluten-free, with extra sprinkles. Going hand-in-hand with speed and convenience is the trend toward meal customization. The more options you can give customers to adjust their order to account for dietary restrictions and concerns, the better. Today’s food apps easily let you put together custom meals: for example, you can build your own burger, pasta dish or poke bowl. Or you can substitute ingredients with other options: quinoa instead of white rice in your poke bowl? No problem! 

“Food ordering technology keeps getting smarter and more sophisticated in tracking individual food preferences”

You can also offer lots of extra ingredients or toppings, from extra mayo to tempura flakes. Food ordering technology keeps getting smarter and more sophisticated in tracking individual food preferences. As a restaurant it pays off to take advantage of this and offer as many customized options as you can.

 

Timing is everything

It only makes sense that speed is the top priority for customers, since it’s the main reason people order delivery instead of going out or cooking. Still, a lot of restaurants don’t put enough emphasis on ensuring that their timing can compete. When you’re setting up your menu, be sure to include dishes that you can make at volume to avoid order bottlenecks.

Woman waiting and looking at phoneIt’s also important to think about which areas really are too far to deliver to within a short enough time, and to consider the effect a long delivery time can have on the quality and temperature of the food. Don’t forget, 80% of customers will blame the restaurant, not the delivery service, for a poor experience. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right delivery partner

Working with multiple delivery platforms lets you compare how your business is faring on each platform (you can see the metrics at a glance with Deliverect). Ultimately, not putting all your eggs in one basket gets your food to the customer faster.

Magali De Reu
By Magali De Reu

Freelance storyteller & copywriter