How to offer delivery for your restaurant during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the restaurant industry. In fact, 80 percent of independent restaurants don’t think they’ll survive.

To combat the situation, many restaurants are beginning to offer delivery. Thankfully, this isn’t as difficult as you might expect. With the advent of services like Grubhub, restaurants can start a delivery service relatively quickly.

Here’s a guide on how to start offering delivery and how to leverage your new delivery services to promote your restaurant.

Choose a delivery aggregator (or not)

In the past, if you wanted to offer delivery from your restaurant, the process was nearly as complex as opening a new restaurant. It required the budget to hire a delivery fleet of your own and the logistics necessary to ensure efficiency.

Luckily, we live in a gig economy with services like Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats. These services make it easy to get started with delivery, and they offer excellent marketing support within their apps.

Here’s an overview of each of these services so you can choose the one that’s right for you.

DoorDash

DoorDash has a fleet of drivers that come to your restaurant to pick up orders and take them to your customers. These drivers are independent contractors who work as much or as little as they want for DoorDash. The company takes a 30-percent commission on orders.

You can sign up for DoorDash here if this sounds like something you’d be interested in. Currently, the company is offering forms of commission relief and marketing support for restaurants to help during COVID-19.

Grubhub

Like DoorDash, Grubhub also offers a fleet of contracted drivers. Grubhub’s fees for restaurants vary, depending on a number of factors, from 10-30 percent. If this sounds like it could work for you, then you can list your restaurant on Grubhub here. The service is also taking a number of steps to help restaurants during this crisis.

Uber Eats

On Uber Eats, the same drivers who pick up and drop off passengers are the ones who pick up and drop off restaurant food orders. Some restaurants prefer drivers to exclusively deliver food. If this describes you, DoorDash and Grubhub are your best options. If this isn’t something you mind, however, you can get your restaurant on Uber Eats by signing up here.

Uber doesn’t disclose its fees, but they are usually from 20 to 30 percent of a ticket. They’ve waived this fee during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DIY

If you’d prefer to have full control over everything, such as who your drivers are, what they wear, how the delivery vehicles are branded, and how your delivery logistics work, then a DIY approach is your best bet. You can add order forms to your website using JotForm’s restaurant order form templates, and even use JotForm job application forms to go about hiring delivery drivers.

This involves extra upfront work and investment, but the long-term payoff is higher since you won’t have to give an aggregator a cut of your sales. You can even maintain control of your delivery costs by passing them on to customers as delivery fees, or use free delivery offerings to increase the average order value (for example, free delivery on orders of $15 or more).

If you’re a control freak or are operating on slim margins, DIY is the way to go.

Promote your delivery offering on social media

Once you’re set up to offer delivery, you need to promote it to make sure your customers know about it.

Here’s how to do that on social media.

Post about it

The best way to tell your customers about your delivery offering is by using a photo that includes your logo and the logo of your chosen aggregator (if applicable). Once you create the image, post it on your social media accounts.

These photos are easy to see while scrolling through social media. Customers will quickly realize that you now offer delivery. 

Share your new menu

Right now, it’s more important than ever to manage your food costs. To do this, you’ll likely need to offer a reduced menu that features only your most popular items. Create this new menu and share it on your social media accounts and your Google My Business profile so it’s easy for customers to find.

Advertise

If you have any sort of budget for ads, Facebook or Instagram ads can help you reach more people. If you’ve got email addresses from a loyalty program, you can run ads that specifically target these people or even expand your reach by creating a lookalike audience. If you’re struggling to find money to invest in ads, look into Facebook’s COVID-19 grant program.

Keep your restaurant clean

Right now, potential customers are more concerned with their health than ever.

This is why you must implement steps to ensure cleanliness. Here are some extra ways to keep your staff and customers healthy.

Require your managers to work remotely

Social distancing guidelines are in place to help manage the spread of COVID-19. To do your part, have managers work from home rather than coming into the restaurant. Only essential staff should be inside your restaurant at any given time. Additionally, if you need to hold meetings, do so via Skype or Zoom.

Require sick employees to stay home

If an employee calls in sick, take their word for it. If you’re typically strict on sick leave, ease up. The last thing you want is for your entire staff to become infected.

Implement stricter hand-washing guidelines

It’s important to make sure your employees are washing their hands every hour — especially if they’re handling food. To keep track of this, use a log sheet that employees sign every hour just before washing their hands.

Once you’ve implemented the above, tell your social media followers so they get the message that you’re serious about cleanliness and keeping them and your staff safe.

Hopefully, this guide will help ease your transition into food delivery.

Stay safe!

AUTHOR
Nicholas is a digital marketing specialist for Aptito — a user-friendly restaurant POS system that runs on iPad. Outside of the restaurant industry, Nicholas spends his time playing and writing music.

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