Full-service restaurants have been forced to rapidly adapt to the needs of food delivery and pickup, and they’re learning that there are key differences between on-premises and off-premises services. Inexperience in handling high volumes of deliveries can lead to miscommunications and confusion, causing customer dissatisfaction. It’s not enough to follow the same procedures with additional steps; from receiving orders to fulfilling deliveries, there are techniques you can use to streamline the off-premises food preparation process.
Get orders to the kitchen quickly
Orders can come to the kitchen by phone calls, websites, or app orders. Transferring them to the kitchen staff in a clear, organized way prevents orders from getting missed or delayed. Speed is critically important in food delivery since customers expect food that arrives warm and fresh. Using tablets or other devices that offer POS integration with the food ordering platform can instantly share the order details and special instructions with the kitchen so they can act on them quickly.
Reorganize your kitchen around the order pickup counter
Restaurants are finding that the setups they have for in-house dining are not ideal for preparing takeout orders. When serving both on-premises and off-premises at once, having two food preparation lines may help with organization. Having a pickup/delivery counter that is easily accessible for kitchen staff will get orders there as quickly as possible once they’re cooked or prepared. In order to maximize freshness, set up the station for sliced meat or other fresh-made foods next to the serving counter so it can be added last.
Review orders before giving them out
Have a designated order-checker who reviews orders from the kitchen and compares them to the receipt for accuracy, makes sure they contain utensils, napkins, and condiments, and serves as the first point of contact for customers and delivery drivers who come in to take their orders. First Orion’s survey found 37% of customers had received incorrect orders from food delivery. This person can be responsible for managing the delivery counter and correctly matching orders to pickup customers or delivery workers.
Create family meal bundles and other delivery-friendly foods
Family meal bundles are an ideal takeout order to provide a simple solution for family dinners. According to Technomic’s Delivery and Takeout report, 27% of consumers who have ordered takeout and delivery while restaurants have been closed have purchased or are likely to purchase family meal bundles, and 73% said that even once restaurants reopen, they would be likely to purchase them. Bundles make ordering less complex for customers and they make preparation and packaging more efficient.
Having a pared-down delivery menu that emphasizes your core specialities along with favourites that travel well can also help simplify the process of filling out orders.
Invest in good packaging
Packaging for delivery needs to be able to arrive intact and fresh. Even the best food can be wasted if it doesn’t travel well. Multiple containers need to be packed together tightly so they don’t move around in transit, and they need to be sealed to assure customers that they weren’t tampered with. Sealing too tightly can cause steam to make food soggy, so having some vents in packaging is necessary.
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Help delivery drivers do their job better
Whether in-house or third-party, delivery drivers are part of the process of serving customers. Make their job easier, by setting aside parking space for their vehicles, having a separate entryway so they can get in and out quickly, and a fast-moving pickup counter where they don’t have to wait long. Treat them as partners and thank them for their work. This helps customers get their food faster and encourages delivery drivers to work harder.
Plan your exterior for curbside pickup
Curbside pickup is one of the leading ways to enhance off-premises service, but it can lead to overcrowding and delays if done without preparation. Figure out an approach: should customers line up in a row and wait or park in designated spaces? Then set up signage to clearly identify where curbside pickup customers should go, and leave this information on your app and website as well. Train employees to be ready for curbside arrivals and come out quickly so customers aren’t left waiting.
Taking these steps can improve your service and get high-quality food to customers while it’s still fresh. Orienting your kitchen around pickup and delivery can improve your sales and customer experience.