Restaurants have unexpectedly found themselves in the middle of a recession. For whatever reason, people just aren’t eating out anymore. In some cases, it’s a lack of time. In others, it’s a concern about high-calorie count, large portions, or even the noisy restaurant atmosphere. The result for restaurant owners, however, is the same: they’re experiencing decreased income and a struggle to maintain their businesses. Fortunately, many restaurants are finding a new solution: restaurant delivery.

What’s the Rush?

Today’s customers are busy. They’re after convenience and speed–often over price. They’ve spent long hours at work or with the kids, and when dinner time rolls around, the last thing they want is to have to step away from their current activities to prepare a complicated meal. This is the reason many meal delivery services, like HelloFresh or Blue Apron, are flourishing: they offer simplicity and convenience all rolled into one. However, restaurants who offer delivery can extend even more convenience to customers by delivering fully-prepared meals straight to the customer’s door.

 If your restaurant is struggling to stay afloat during this restaurant recession, offering this one key service is a great way to decrease those difficulties.

This restaurant delivery service is something that many customers are demanding with greater volume than ever. When they don’t have time to go out and get a meal themselves, they want the restaurant to bring it to them–and they’re not quiet about their requests. Many fast food restaurants and casual dining locations quickly find that the primary request of their customers is that they offer delivery on their food. If your restaurant is struggling to stay afloat during this restaurant recession, offering this one key service is a great way to decrease those difficulties.

The Real Cost of Delivery

For many restaurants, delivery services can be difficult to implement, especially at first. Let’s go over several key challenges:

Customers aren’t ordering as much through delivery as they might if they were eating in the restaurant–especially of high-margin items like drinks and desserts. Preparing for those issues ahead of time might include offering free dessert or a percentage off an appetizer for initial delivery clients. Once they’re used to seeing those items come through their doors with their meals, they’ll be more likely to order them in the future.

Offering delivery increases complexity. There’s additional insurance to be purchased, delivery drivers to manage, and a kitchen to balance. You don’t want delivery customers to have to wait too long for their food, but you don’t want to decrease the service you’re offering your in-restaurant customers, either. Finding this balance is critical to beginning a successful restaurant delivery service.

Third-party services don’t allow the restaurant full control. Unfortunately, if delivery drivers who aren’t part of your specific restaurant offer poor service, from slow delivery times to poor people skills at the door, customers are going to link that behavior with your restaurant. If you’re going to work with a third-party service, it’s critical that you vet them fully before beginning the partnership in order to ensure a more effective outcome for both your restaurant and your customers.

Whether you decide that setting up a delivery service is far too difficult or you’re ready to dive in and see if it will work for your restaurant, it’s important to note that many other restaurants–especially chains–are already jumping in. From partnering with Uber Eats, like McDonald’s, to teaming up with DoorDash, like Wendy’s, many restaurants have already taken the plunge to see how delivery will work for their restaurants.

In order to remain competitive, many restaurants may find that restaurant delivery is the best way to keep their corner of the market and ensure that they’re providing the best possible service for all of their customers. So, if you aren’t already thinking about delivery services, it should definitely be on your radar!

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