It’s clear by now that the uptick in food delivery was more than just a pandemic blip. Diners can’t seem to get enough of the convenience, variety and, did we say convenience?
All that interest has been great for consumers and restaurants alike, but it’s also ushered in a much more competitive delivery landscape. Diners have so many options in some markets that they are unlikely to reward restaurants with repeat orders if the first delivery experience is mediocre. The good news is that you can avoid the issues that hurt delivery brands with a little pre-planning and attention to detail. Start by considering these three potential problems faced by delivery brands.
1. Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy.
One sure way to hurt your brand is by sending out orders that aren’t what customers expect. While you might have a window to “make it right” during an in-person interaction, that opportunity all but disappears with delivery. If a customer opens the delivery bag to find that part of the order is missing or incorrect, they might get a full or partial refund, but their meal will likely still serve as a disappointing experience.
Set yourself up for success by creating a set of guidelines to follow during every single order:
Implement a two-check process, where two separate employees check orders for accuracy before they are sent out the door
Keep your menu as clear as possible and list every ingredient that can be removed or added. Be sure to communicate about menu changes that you can’t accommodate, too.
When in doubt, follow up with the customer; don’t just guess and hope for the best if a note or customization is unclear
Still, even with good practices in place and the best intentions, mistakes happen now and again. Waste no time in owning up to any errors and do what you can to make it right. The same basic customer service rules still apply here — customers are far more likely to return, even after a blip like an inaccurate order when brands are compassionate and earnest in their response.
2. Operational efficiency.
If delivery — especially delivery at high volumes — is new for your brand, there’s a good chance you aren’t handling the flow as efficiently as you could. Take a step back and look at your processes from a high level:
How are completed orders organized for drivers? Pick-up drivers should be able to walk in and immediately figure out where to find the specific order they need.
How are you keeping orders fresh until pick up? Food handling rules apply to delivery orders, too. Keep hot food hot and cold food cold and seal bags and boxes with tamper-proof stickers, tape or speciality sealed delivery packaging.
Is your staff well trained on delivery order processes? Consider specialization if you have a large enough staff, where some employees only focus on getting orders into the delivery pipeline. Everyone should know how orders come in, how to check on their status, and how order preparation is prioritized.
Once you have a good process in place, keep it up. Consistency will help to improve accuracy and overall customer satisfaction.
3. Third-party delivery partner issues.
A recent Tattle survey revealed that guest satisfaction is 20% lower when a third-party delivery service is involved than it is for dine-in guests. The reasons for this are abundant:
Third-party partners are not as invested in your brand; they are working for hundreds of brands in a given market
“Gig economy” workers — third party drivers in this case — are often not even all that invested in the delivery partner they are driving for and in fact, often drive for multiple partners
Third party delivery partners offer few opportunities for customers to manage bad ordering experiences, apart from refunds, so brands don’t have a chance to fix mistakes or quality issues
The nature of third party delivery often has drivers juggling multiple orders miles apart, leading to cold, unappetizing meals
Brands have little control over most of these issues, but that doesn’t mean your brand can’t be competitive in the delivery space. Consider a comprehensive delivery platform like Onosys. You’ll get the best of both worlds: connecting your customers with a web-based delivery platform while still serving them directly.
If you do stick with third parties, be sure to stay well versed in your partners’ operational methods, which can change on a dime. Most importantly, don’t take on more orders than your staff can manage — this is a time when quality wins out over quantity in the long run.