How Can I Start a Delivery Service for My Restaurant?

Last updated on June 30th, 2022 at 10:37 am

Phone app for food delivery

With new foodservice restrictions sweeping the nation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants and bars are having to make the tough choice between shutting down completely or pivoting to takeout and delivery services only. Since more and more Americans have been staying home, food delivery has become 300 times more popular, according to Yelp. The question is: how do you switch to takeout and delivery only, especially if you’ve never offered these services before?

We’ve gathered information and resources you may need to navigate this decision.

What to Know About In-House Delivery

There’s so much more to delivery than just preparing food and driving orders to customers. Logistically, providing your own delivery service is more complex than utilizing a third-party service. However, this option keeps all aspects of delivery under your control.

Needed Supplies
Making sure you’re stocked with the correct supplies is the key to providing your customers with food that will have them coming back for more. You need your food to be fresh, flavorful, and contamination-free. Have these supplies on-hand and ready to create the best experience for your customers:

Ordering Process
If you are creating your own delivery system, it’s important to consider how your customers will be able to order. Customers could always order by phone, but in this day and age, having an online ordering system is essential to be competitive. Finding the right food delivery software for your business and your budget will help not just with the ordering process, but by letting your customers track the delivery as well.

You’ll want to have reliable transportation with staff willing and able to take orders to their destinations. There are multiple insurance options to cover these drivers should anything happen while delivering to your customers.

Tracking mileage and gas usage is also crucial to ensure your driver isn’t paying for all the gas being used.

What to Know About Third-Party Delivery

While some restaurants use their own delivery drivers, others opt for a third-party delivery service like DoorDash, Uber Eats, or Postmates. There may not be all of the logistics that are involved in providing your own service, but this system comes with a completely different set of pros and cons.

Here are some items to consider when deciding whether to use a third-party:

Name Recognition
Most people already have at least one food delivery app on their phone and usually start their search there if they aren’t sure what food they want. A study, conducted by Zion & Zion, showed that 63% of young adults use a third-party delivery app. Delivery services have the advantage of getting your restaurant’s name in front of your existing customers and potential new ones.

These services are businesses, first and foremost; they collect a commission fee. Under normal circumstances, restaurants can sometimes pay up to 30% as a commission fee. Delivery services have been adjusting their business models in response to COVID-19’s effect on the restaurant industry, trying to provide relief to restaurant owners. For example: Grubhub and DoorDash are both eliminating or reducing up to $100 million each in total commission fees for independent restaurants.

These services aren’t just expensive for your business, but for the consumer as well. Costly delivery and service fees have turned some customers away from using these apps, especially in the era of social distancing when there aren’t large groups of people to share the cost. However, many of these platforms have waived delivery fees for customers ordering from local restaurants in hopes of increasing the amount of traffic.

Create a travel-friendly menu

No matter the method of delivery, it’s no secret that some food just isn’t ideal for traveling. Since March 1st, breakfast restaurants have seen a 44% drop in interest while pizza and wing establishments have seen an uptick of 88% and 103%, respectively. If you have the ability to, optimizing and consolidating your menu for the new normal may help to increase sales and customer satisfaction.

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