Even as many restaurants around North America reopen for on-premise dining, many customers will continue to opt for off-premise dining options. It’s seen in the data how quickly restaurants are flocking to takeout and delivery options to rebuild their revenue, with 43% more delivery-related roles being scheduled since the pandemic began.
Delivery and takeout will continue to be important revenue streams for restaurants. We’ll show you how to deliver food and offer takeout while maximizing profits.
Keep reading to get answers to questions like:
- How do you manage staff to boost off-site dining revenue?
- Are there any tips for food delivery and takeout inventory management?
- What are the best delivery strategies and takeout strategies?
- How do you market food delivery and takeout?
Food delivery ideas: How to manage staff to boost off-site dining revenue
It’s important to have a protocol in place for managing delivery and takeout orders. The order fulfillment process gets slowed down if your staff don’t know who is responsible for what.
Decide who will be in charge of managing takeout and delivery orders. Do you have enough takeout orders coming in to be able to make that someone’s full time job? Or should you make it the part-time responsibility of another team member, like a host or manager?
When you decide who is responsible for managing delivery orders, train those staff members on the processes they need to follow, how they should communicate delays to customers, and the tools they need to use to fulfill orders.
Determine who will be responsible for delivering orders to customers. Will you hire in-house drivers, use third party drivers, or cross train your front-of-house (FOH) staff to double as drivers?
Use the 7shifts scheduling and labor budgeting tools to ensure that you carry out and delivery team is working efficiently.
Tips for food delivery and takeout inventory management
Managing inventory is an important part of keeping your restaurant’s costs under control, especially as you ramp up your delivery efforts. Ordering too much food leads to waste, while not having enough food or packaging inventory limits your earnings by blocking you from fulfilling all the orders you receive. Here are tips for managing food and packaging inventory:
Use your POS or an inventory management tool to keep track of what you have and what you use over any given week. Collect several weeks’ worth of data to determine how much inventory you typically need for takeout and for dine-in.
Pay attention to how weather affects demand. For example, in parts of the US and Canada where restaurants have reopened with outdoor dining, you may have to adjust inventory for on-premise dining depending on the weather. If your area has a heatwave, customers may not come for dine-in service, but may still order at home.
Base your food inventory orders on data rather than gut feelings.
While your restaurant likely already has some takeout packaging supplies, you’ll need to stock up to meet an increased demand for off-premise dining. It can’t hurt to have more than you need right now — but it can hurt to fall short.
Unlike food inventory, packaging inventory doesn’t spoil so make sure you have plenty of bags, boxes, plasticware, napkins, and condiment cups in stock. Take advantage of discounts for bulk orders from your vendors.
How to deliver food: Best practices for managing takeout and delivery orders
Want to know how to deliver food while keeping your staff organized and your customers happy? These are the best food delivery strategies for maximizing efficiency:
- Assign someone to manage orders.
2. Choose how you’ll take orders: over the phone, through your website, and/or through third party ordering apps. Here are some pros and cons to consider:
- Over the phone - This method lets you have personal interactions with customers, but it takes up your staff’s time and may take them away from other duties if they have multiple roles at the restaurant (such as greeting dine-in customers).
- Via your restaurant’s website - Find a tech partner that offers favorable rates and an easy-to-use platform, and can automate orders to your POS or other tools. Use 7shifts’ POS integration to better understand your sales numbers and trends.
- Third party ordering apps - Listing your restaurant on a third party ordering app can help you reach the app’s customers. Many have POS integrations and can automate tickets for the back-of-house (BOH) team. However, these tools usually come with steep fees. If you use several providers, you may have to purchase several pieces of hardware, which can clutter up your restaurant.
3. Train staff on how to use the technology of the tools that you decide to use for takeout and delivery.
Our top delivery strategy is to find solutions that take up as little staff time as possible (delivery on autopilot!) and are cost efficient.
How do you market food delivery and takeout?
Use these marketing tactics to make sure customers know that you offer delivery and takeout:
Share posts regularly to remind customers that they can enjoy your delicious dishes from the comfort of their homes, like Five Guys does.
Don’t forget to include a call to action in your restaurant’s Instagram bio to encourage followers to order, and link to your online ordering platform.
Recommended Reading: How to Market & Talk to Your Customers During COVID-19
On-premise marketing tips for food delivery
Turn dine-in customers and passersby into takeout customers. Tape flyers on your windows and place chalkboard signs in front of your restaurant to let customers know that you do takeout and delivery, and how they can order from you.
Email marketing ideas to boost your food delivery strategy
Tap into your email newsletter to let subscribers know that you offer takeout and delivery. People may not read all of your emails, so it’s okay to talk about your takeout offerings over multiple emails.
Explain how they can order from you. Include a line like, “Call us, order via our website, or find us on Grubhub and Postmates!” and add links where appropriate.
Don’t forget to share updates when you add new items or prom
How do you market food delivery through third party delivery apps?
While third party delivery tools take a cut of your profits, they give your restaurant marketing benefits in return, like exposure to their many customers. In 2019, Grubhub had 22.62 million active customers. That number is surely higher today because of the surge of delivery popularity. When you appear in Grubhub’s or UberEats’ database, you’ll be front of mind when people are hungry and looking for takeout.
Now that we’ve answered, “how do you market food delivery,” it’s time for you to put these marketing food delivery ideas into practice!
Wrapping up: Restaurant delivery strategies that maximize profits
Takeout and delivery will continue to be important revenue streams for restaurants. When you optimize your staffing, operations, inventory management, and marketing for these services, you’ll be able to maximize profits.
As you figure out the perfect balance of FOH, BOH, and delivery staff to serve both on-site and off-site diners, use 7shifts’ scheduling, communication, and labor budgeting tools to keep your labor costs under control and your team in sync. Start your free trial.
7shifts is a team management software designed for restaurants. We help managers and operators spend less time and effort scheduling their staff, reduce their monthly labor costs and improve team communication. The result is simplified team management, one shift at a time.
Start FREE Trial.