The COVID-19 pandemic has had an overwhelming effect on the restaurant industry, limiting or eliminating dine-in service. We created this guide to share the various options available for off-premise—digital ordering, takeout and delivery—in order to help create and maximize this stream of revenue for operators during this time and into the future.
In this guide, you'll find:
Whether your restaurant is entirely new to third-party delivery and takeout offerings, or simply looking to optimize the system you already have place, this guide will get you up to speed on the types of tech restaurants are leveraging to make sales outside their brick-and-mortar operations.
This being real life, and real life being imperfect, each of these off-premise approaches has its pros and cons. To wit!
Third-party delivery apps: This strategy is best for independent restaurants looking for a close-to-turnkey solution to get their off-premise operations on-line ASAP.
White-label delivery management software: Larger enterprise restaurants that already know how to market to their existing customer base may be better served with this option.
Operator-built delivery systems: Historically used by independent fast-casual restaurants with consistent demand (think: neighborhood pizza parlors) to directly service customers.
Don’t spin your wheels researching the pricing minutiae of individual apps. Choose based on where your customers are spending their time.
Pricing is variable for third party delivery companies based on a number of factors like number of locations, existing customer data, and exclusivity. For any given platform, operators may see transaction fee’s between ~15-30% per order. On the receiving end, consumers will experience a ~30-90% upcharge for their meal due to service, delivery and other “misc fees”.
Many third-party delivery platforms have waived setup fees and/or have significantly reduced their commission percentage in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Pro tip: If your priority is getting off-premise up and running fast, platforms with major marketshare (DoorDash, GrubHub, Uber Eats) are typically more turnkey.
Managing multiple third-party delivery solutions can be a heavy lift and operationally cumbersome. Consider "middle-ware" solutions like Chowly, that aggregate these platforms in a dashboard that sits on top of your POS.
The pandemic is extraordinary, so business as usual simply won't cut it. Key areas for adjustment as your restaurant rethinks its off-premise approach include:
Menus: Quality over quantity is the motto (or should be, at least) for your off-premise menu. Assess your existing menu and decide which dishes translate best for a to-go scenario. Consider some of the following questions to help hone your off-premise menu:
Packaging: Sending food out into the world comes with its own challenges, and making sure it's properly packaged is vital to protecting quality and ensuring customer satisfaction. So don’t skimp on packaging! Some ideas...:
Layout: When reorienting your restaurant for more off-premise sales, or exclusively off-premise sales, consider reconfiguring your physical space accordingly. After all, if your service is different, your dining room probably needs to be, too! Consider:
For more resources and guides for independent restaurant operators grappling with the economic disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, check out Back Of House pieces like:
From Surviving to Thriving: How This Restaurant Owner’s Pandemic Pivots Are Paying Off
November 19, 2022
RFID 101: What Radio-Frequency Identification Tech Can Do for Your Restaurant, Venue, or Event
November 17, 2022