4 Insights into Restaurant Delivery Service Execution

Editor’s Note: This is a compilation of four microblogs published in our The Daily Rail newsletter. If you haven’t yet, sign-up for the daily free newsletter here.

Stay tuned as we’ll also be posting our reviews of third-party delivery services, so you can choose the best service for your business. 

Delivery is among the hottest topics in our industry. As a result, we have decided to deliver a piece that focuses on the less obvious aspects of restaurant delivery execution. Nothing about why you should deliver and more about the underlying issues regarding delivery.

Insight #1: Upsell to Your Delivery Guests

Restaurant operators should make sure their delivery services upsell to guests.

We know you’re probably pretty good about getting your staff to upsell to in-house guests, but is your online delivery service doing the same to delivery guests? 

Now every delivery system is different, but if you are either taking calls for delivery or control how your menu appears to guests, you can assert pressure to improve your check averages. Suggestive selling has its limits, but only so much as you aren’t willing to try.

This four-point rundown on boosting check averages for delivery provides some relevant insight. It begins by focusing on your mobile ordering strategy with a simple reminder to highlight your most profitable items and using your menu to support upselling. This is an old conversation because it’s the exact same thing we discuss with physical menus. 

Additionally, it is suggested that you focus on premium add-ons like adding steak, chicken or salmon to a salad. While add-ons are the norm in most restaurant selling strategies, you can also focus on sizing and bundled meals to drive higher delivery checks. And don’t forget that delivery is driven by loyalty.  

Consequently, it’s imperative that you invite any delivery customer to join your loyalty program. If they’ve taken the time to order from you, reward them with a delivery award for signing up. No matter how you approach it, increasing delivery checks averages just makes sense, so what are you waiting for? 

Insight #2: Expand Your Restaurant’s Business with “Cloud Kitchens”

Restaurants can use cloudkitchsn & ghost kitchens to boost their delivery service.

Cloud kitchens (aka ghost kitchens) have become a hot topic in the restaurant industry. As consumer buying patterns shift from full-service to off-premise/delivery dining, we have seen a rise in operators creating a kitchen-only facility to fulfill delivery orders. This started with savvy operators realizing they could project as multiple delivery concepts while using a central kitchen for production. Imagine a 6000 square foot kitchen where you can simultaneously turn out amazing barbeque and sushi, then deliver that food to guests who don’t know the orders came from the same kitchen. The efficiency of a kitchen-only facility should be obvious. Apparently, it is, as companies like Uber begin to foster this concept even further.

In 2017, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick build out CloudKitchens in Los Angeles. Here operators can rent fully-built kitchen space in a shared work environment. Think WeWork for restaurant operators. CloudKitchens has partnerships with Uber Eats (duh!), Postmates, DoorDash and GrubHub, just to name a few.

This effort and others like it are creating a lower bar to entry for delivery operators, food truck entrepreneurs, and even national concepts that want a delivery foothold, but aren’t ready to pull the trigger on a central commissary.  

While folks will always want identifiable food brands for their off-premise and delivery occasions, these CloudKitchens also make possible a path to business ownership by lowering the upfront expenses. For many of you, this may even be a path to your own delivery-only concept. If delivery is a significant opportunity for you, then you can test your theory without breaking the bank.

Insight #3: Restaurant Delivery Services Eye Proprietary POS

Restaurants should find a restaurant delivery system that integrates well with their POS systems

Third-party delivery services have slick interfaces they offer their restaurant partners to facilitate the delivery process. In the beginning, many of these didn’t connect directly to POS systems which caused a certain amount of chaos for operators. Not just in fulfillment, but in cost and labor controls as well.

Over the past several years, many of these services have upgraded their systems to make those integrations work, allowing restaurants control over the sales and product from both delivery and traditional revenue. Presently that paradigm is the norm, but it appears there is another shift about to occur. 

As these third-party delivery services evolve, they are increasingly flexing their muscles by creating more potent integrations and are even considering proprietary POS that operators can employ for the full throughput of their business. This means a showdown may be coming between traditional POS providers and delivery integrators.

The winner, if this showdown occurs, will be operators. The notion that a third-party provides your POS as a consequence of a collaboration will save operators on costly POS installations and long term upgrades, while simultaneously providing a tighter connection to the provider. If your intent is to expand delivery, this might be a solution you didn’t know you needed.

Insight #4: Optimize Your Delivery Menu for Profit, Execution

Restaurants should optimize their online delivery service menus.

We wanted to finish with some tips to winning the delivery game. Simplicity can be its own reward and it turns out that is also the case when offering a menu for delivery.

Since most delivery experiences these days start with a mobile device interaction, this post on How to Win in the Booming Delivery Economy cautions to keep your online menu simple. Most full-service restaurants have complicated menus with lots of choices, many of which require modification and specification. By limiting your menu, you improve the guest experience. That’s the whole game here -- winning the guest experience. Just look at what Domino’s has done to make their mobile ordering great and you’ll have all the proof you need. 

The post also suggests that you keep your higher margin items. Soups, apps soft beverages or desserts need to be highlighted for why they are a great addition to the guest order. For example, some operators are recommending non-fizzy drinks like lemonade or iced teas to overcome the notion that carbonated beverages suffer due to the delivery cycle. 

An additional focus of the post is on managing kitchen turnout pressure. If your delivery is really rocking, then maybe you should consider the ghost kitchen concept and dedicate a line to delivery. You can either build your own or access a shared kitchen concept to just serve your delivery needs. These complications are just problems to be solved, especially if they are the result of increased volume.