It’s no question that the restaurant industry is struggling right now. With government regulations and fear of catching the virus, people are staying at home. In some states, dine-in isn’t even allowed.
Thankfully, restaurant deliveries are still allowed, and services like DoorDash and UberEats might be just what every restaurant needs to gain access to a delivery fleet and some extra marketing quickly.
Getting your delivery service going isn’t as complicated as figuring out how to open a restaurant. In this article, we’ll cover how to choose a delivery aggregator (like DoorDash or UberEats), how to promote your new delivery offering, and how to take steps to ensure cleanliness.
Step 1: Choose a Delivery Aggregator
Before services like GrubHub were around, restaurants would need to set up delivery fleets entirely on their own. This involves hiring drivers and planning the logistics of offering delivery.
Now, with the help of these services, any restaurant can offer delivery—and get some additional promotion inside these apps—with little to no upfront investment.
Here are some of the most popular of these services.
UberEats helps you offer delivery from your restaurant by giving you access to their fleet of drivers. With this service, the same drivers who give regular Uber rides will be picking up and delivering orders to your customers. You can get your restaurant on UberEats by signing up here. Uber’s standard fee is 30% of the price of an item, but they’ve waived this fee during COVID-19.
If you prefer to access a fleet of drivers that are exclusive to food delivery, GrubHub is a better option. GrubHub’s fee for restaurants varies from 10-30% depending on a number of factors, such as the amount of required marketing support. If you simply want to offer delivery from your website and promote it on your own, you can do so with a small 10% commission plus a processing fee. If this sounds like a good fit, you can get your restaurant on GrubHub here. The service is also taking steps to help the restaurant industry during COVID-19.
Like GrubHub, DoorDash’s drivers exclusively deliver food for the platform. DoorDash’s fee structure isn’t openly available, but it usually ranges from 10-25%. You can sign up as a DoorDash merchant here. The company is offering lots of marketing support for restaurants during COVID-19, including free delivery to encourage more customers to order food through their app.
Step 2: Promote deliveries on social media
When you start offering delivery for your restaurant, the next step is to promote it.
Here are a few ways to do that through your social media channels.
Post regularly on all social media accounts
If you’re on Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media service, regular posts can be a great way to let customers know that you offer delivery. An image that shows your restaurant’s logo next to the logo of your chosen delivery partner effectively communicates this. Don’t forget to include a link to the page where your customers can order from you!
Publish your online-only menu
Right now, many restaurants need to reduce their food costs. This means you’ll likely need to operate on a more limited menu that only offers your most profitable items. Make sure you create this menu and publish it everywhere, such as on your website and social media accounts, so your customers know about this.
It can be tough to spend money right now, but if you have the budget, Facebook or Instagram ads can be an effective way to reach new and existing customers. If you have contact information for your current customers, such as their email address, you can target these people directly or expand your reach by creating lookalike audiences. If you’re low on funds, Facebook has a COVID-19 grant program for advertisers that might be able to help.
Step 3: Keep your restaurant clean
During the COVID-19 crisis, taking health seriously is even more important. Not only that, but you need to make sure you communicate this fact with your customers.
Here are a few things to implement in your restaurant to ensure cleanliness.
Encourage remote work
If remote work is possible, as it might be with managers, strongly encourage it or make it a policy. Someone can be infected with COVID-19 for up to four days without showing any symptoms, so creating environments of as little social contact as possible is a must. By having some of your staff work from home, you reduce the risk of the virus spreading among your workforce.
Require sick employees to stay home
Encourage your staff to pay close attention to their health. If someone calls in sick for any reason, have them stay at home. If your customers hear that your workers aren’t feeling well and are still working their shifts, this will create a PR nightmare.
Require hourly hand washing
Keeping hands clean is a must right now. Make sure you implement and enforce hand washing guidelines for your staff. This should include washing their hands once per hour and signing a log sheet that shows they’ve done so. They should sign the log sheet before they wash their hands. This will further prevent the spread of germs.
In addition to hand-washing guidelines, provide employees with gloves they can wear during their shift. If they touch their face, door knobs, or take the gloves off for any reason, have them grab a brand new pair.
Once you’ve implemented the above, post about it on your social media accounts so that your followers know you take their health, and the health of your employees, very seriously.
Hopefully, this guide will help your transition into food delivery just a little bit easier.
By Nicholas Rubright, 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.
Photos (top to bottom): eggbank on Unsplash; Charles Deluvio on Unsplash