Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries to abruptly adapt their business practices, the restaurant industry in particular has been one of the hardest hit. Many are pivoting to delivery to serve their customers and to help keep the lights on. However, there are thousands of restaurant owners that have never offered delivery, or have never built up the infrastructure necessary to handle the increased demand. Matthew Hardoon, Director of Sales at MarketMan, and Evan Johnston, Sales Engineer at Lightspeed, share their expertise on how to set up, maintain, and optimize a delivery program despite a pandemic. In this webinar, you’ll learn:
- How to successfully pivot to delivery
- Key strategies used by established restaurateurs
- How to overcome and adapt to adversity with technology
- Resources to leverage immediately for support and relief
1) Make Safety and Training Your Number One Priority
Whether you’re scaling your deliveries to meet demand, or starting a brand new program, training your employees and ensuring their safety should be your chief concern. If you’re going to run a delivery program, it’s important you run it safely.
- Offer one-on-one training for every location
- Follow CDC and WHO guidelines for safety
- Stock cleaning and sanitization supplies
And most importantly, answer questions and offer your undivided support for your employees – the crisis is just as hard on them as it is on your business.
2) Improve Delivery Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Because COVID-19 has sent many restaurants (and many of your competitors) online, there are a new set of rules to follow for getting noticed: SEO. SEO dictates where your restaurant ranks on a search engine. If you sell Indian food, and a hungry would-be patron searches “best tikka masala delivery,” you want to show up on that search. Here are some of the most important ways you can do to improve your SEO from a delivery perspective:
1) No printing delay
There should be no time wasted between the moment an order is submitted and when a ticket is printed in your kitchen. Using an integrated system can help you reduce this time.
2) 100% order acceptance
There should be no reason an order isn’t accepted after submission. If a menu item isn’t available, all of your delivery channels should reflect that.
3) Reduce your errors
Human errors, especially during an existential, slow burning crisis like a pandemic, are inevitable and unavoidable. You should take every stop possible to reduce them by synchronizing your channels and automating as much as possible to reduce duplicates, mistakes, and missed orders.
4) Efficient delivery
This one goes without saying, but consistently long delivery times will negatively affect your rankings. Find ways to reduce the time it takes to get food out the door by prepping ahead for your most popular meals, reducing the time it takes for orders to get processed, or streamlining your delivery infrastructure.
3) Minimize Mistakes with Digital Ordering
Digital ordering is one of the best ways to handle high volumes of deliveries, and can get you in front of more eyes than in-house deliverers alone. Consider adopting some of the most popular offers out there like UberEats, Seamless, Doordash, or GrubHub.
However, while it can minimize human errors, adopting digital ordering comes with its own challenges. Here are some tips to make the most of multichannel deliveries:
1) Remove extra tablets
Delivery services, like GrubHub and Seamless, typically come with their own end-to-end ordering solutions, which are often maintained through tablets. Reduce the amount of extra tablets you have lying around to minimize the strain on your staff.
2) Sync orders and auto-print
Another way to make your digital deliveries more efficient is to synchronize orders from an online service and in your POS, so that you can automatically print tickets for your kitchen.
3) Make sure chits are uniform
Some systems might print off orders in a format your kitchen staff aren’t used to. If you can simplify and unify the chits you receive from each channel, you’ll save your staff a lot of time.
The best tip we can suggest, as Matt Hardoon puts it, is to unify all technology and automate as much as possible.
4) Use Data to Adjust Your Menu, Pricing, and Inventory
In the delivery-only world, your bestsellers might not translate over well to a brown paper bag, and you might find your customers buying more of certain menu items than they would in the restaurant. If you’ve never done delivery before, you’ll have access to all of this data and more: here are the important things to keep in mind:
1) Optimize your menu
Like we suggested, your costs are likely going to be different. Your food costs, labor costs, and extraneous costs will all change based on the ordering habits of your delivery audience. Make sure you look at the right costs so you can make price and inventory adjustments on the fly.
2) Check out the cost of goods sold
Bearing in mind these new and changing costs, keep an eye on your costs of good sold (which should be available through any POS or integrated system) to make sure you’re not overspending on the components to a meal.
3) Log waste
Waste is more important now than ever – it’s likely your margins are thin and times are tough. Log as much of your food waste as you can so you can optimize recipes, preparation, and policies to keep your food costs low.
Build your technology avengers
In the forced digital evolution of the food industry, it’s important you don’t skimp on the basics. Disjointed tech systems can do more harm than good, and waste the money they’re supposed to save.
Assemble your team of technology avengers to make your operations efficient, and keep your customers coming back. You should ideally look to integrate all of your ordering and delivery systems under one roof, so opt for a technology solution or stack that can do this for you. MarketMan and Lightspeed work incredibly well together to do just that: streamline your delivery systems.
MarketMan is an industry leading back-of-house inventory management system that can track your recipes, food waste, and of course, your inventory, down to the last head of garlic.
Lightspeed is a restaurant POS system that offers advanced menu management, custom floor plans, secure payment processing, and more.
Implementing these solutions will cover and automate just about everything for your delivery channels besides the cooking.