The way the world eats has changed dramatically since Covid with many customers favoring to-go orders and utilizing food delivery vs dining out at the restaurant itself. While dine-in remains strong for friends and families looking to come together, the convenience of these modern options works well for many with busy lives. 3rd party delivery via delivery service partners (DSP) like Doordash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub were already making inroads even before the pandemic accelerated food delivery to the mainstream. Hence it is important to learn about delivery menu tips to maximize your profit and wow your customers.
Now, post-pandemic, the restaurant industry is seeing a resurgence in business and is faced with the challenge of optimizing delivery, not just for the sake of saving the business with a COVID pivot, but to effectively and profitably drive profits through these new digital channels. Yahoo Finance recently reported that the US food delivery business reached a whopping 26.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to touch US$ 53.5 billion by 2027, demonstrating a potential CAGR of 12.5% from 2022 to 2027.
However, to effectively leverage the booming delivery business, it is imperative for restaurants to create menus that hit the sweet spot for customers and modify their food preparation and presentation to handle the extended logistics of handoff to the courier and travel time to the customer.
Here are a few delivery menu tips to take note of to improve your chances of getting that first order on crowded delivery apps and creating repeat customers:
Detailed Descriptions And Pictures
Customers love to know what they are eating and your use of words and pictures is key to getting the customer to select an item on the menu. Pictures should be professionally taken and optimally represent each dish, with a background to the image that draws the eye.
Beyond the name of the dish, there should be an appetizing description that includes things like ingredients, and how the food is prepared, along with a clear indication of what is included that matches the picture. Excellent high-resolution photographs, paired with appealing dish names, and appetizing descriptions are key to getting menu items to checkout.
Know Your Customer
The restaurant business is about hospitality and it is important to anticipate what customers are looking for. Order history provides clear evidence as to what your customers want. Look for trends regarding items ordered by new customers, repeat orders of specific menu items, and items that are rarely or never ordered.
Customer feedback channels on the third-party delivery operating platforms will provide critical information not just on the perception of your food, but how well your food travels and how your packaging helps or hinders the experience when the customer sits down to eat. At the end of the day, delivery customers are looking for convenience, quality, and value. Order history and customer feedback provide actionable information to help you refine your delivery menus.
When creating a menu, be mindful of the feasibility of packaging and preparation of those dishes. The customer does not get to consume the food right after the preparation is done. There’s a time lag, up to 30 minutes, that can be the difference in a customer deciding they had a good or bad experience. Hence concentrate on dishes that are easy to prepare, easy to pack and stay in a similar state, if not the same, when the customer opens the box. Options such as pre-cooked meals that need to be microwaved for a few minutes can be a wonderful addition.
Combos and Offers
This could be an ace up your sleeves if you can pull it off well. Easy-to-consume combos tailor-made for one person, two persons, or a group of four can be appealing to delivery customers looking for convenience and value. In addition, offers such as complimentary beverages or discounts on minimum billing can also attract more customers. Think of ideas such as Buy 1 Get 1 Free on beverages or ‘Get A Salad Free’ on minimum billing of a certain amount.
This may come across as an obvious measure to provide quality food but highlighting the food hygiene and safety can instill belief in customers. After all, a customer would be happy to know that the food he is consuming that was prepared some time ago has the choicest ingredients and has been prepared with utmost care.
Packaging isn’t just about using the right material. The box or bag in which the food is delivered represents your brand and is an opportunity to communicate and build rapport with your customer. It is also an opportunity to provide additional information or instructions, often through an affixed label, as to how to heat, contents, ingredients, and any other information that will enhance the overall experience. Packaging goes a long way to securing repeat orders. Restaurants may consider clamshell packaging, insulated paper food packets or aluminum foil containers can also help in this case as it helps to keep the food warm for a longer duration.
Extra Is Awesome
A little extra with the food will take your brand a long way. Some ideas to capture the thoughts and minds of customers include cutlery that is made from sustainable materials, sufficient condiments that complement the items ordered, branded napkins or moist towelettes, and candies or mouth fresheners.
Boost your delivery sales by having a 'Happy Hour' menu for delivery and takeaway. These could be selected items that are inexpensive to make and can be offered at a higher discount. If feasible, keep the menus rotating with different dishes on different days of the week.
In summary, delivery strategies for first and third-party platforms need special consideration in the areas of menu engineering and logistics. What works in the dining room and drive-through, won’t necessarily work in a delivery setting where it may take up to 30 minutes for the food to reach a customer.
The good news is that history is proving that customers ordering from operating platforms are convenience minded and are ok with reasonably higher prices but do expect value and quality when the food arrives. The steps above will help you address many of these key concerns.
How ItsaCheckmate Helps Customers Optimize their Digital Menus
ItsaCheckmate helps address many of the points listed above and allows restaurants of all sizes to integrate their third-party orders directly into their POS system.
In addition, the menu management features allows the restaurants to make changes to all your online delivery menu in one place. This not only leads to a frictionless experience for the restaurant but also eliminates order errors and allows centralized menu management. What's more? Expect your restaurant to rank better on online ordering platform by optimizing the delivery against the algorithm used. This feature helps your restaurant show up more prominent in platforms such as Doordash, GrubHub, UberEats and more.
Customers using ItsaCheckmate see delivery order sales increase by nearly 40% in 60 days and eliminate approximately 100 labor hours/month from having to manually reenter or track down delivery orders.