The outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic has put a stop to dining out at restaurants across dimensions. Therefore, orders are placed mostly online, and delivery services are a significant part of running a restaurant now. As a result, many restaurants might face the necessity to hire extra help or use existing delivery services. Additionally, the existing staff are engaged more to assist in the process of deliveries and food packing.
There are many challenges included in this process. For example, these third-party delivery services have to be paid commission out of the order value. If any restaurant is not willing to modify their services, but are more focused on on-site food orders, chances are they will have a tough time sailing through the pandemic. Most people want food to be delivered in their homes at present. This has stimulated the restaurants to adopt new strategies to cope with the situation.
Another challenge in this respect is to maintain a standard in online reviews. Nowadays, most people carry out a preliminary research of the restaurant on Google and other discovery platforms before placing the order. The customers even lookup for reviews and ratings of the restaurants. Most of these reviews are focused on the restaurant service, ambience and most importantly, the food. Sometimes the factors determining these reviews are not in absolute control of the restaurant. For example, the probability of customers negatively rating a restaurant is high, even if the 3rd party delivery service is at fault.
What is the solution?
It is recommended to provide a unique online menu where users feel elated when ordering. Modification of dishes so as to facilitate them to travel while staying fresh for longer hours is the need of the hour. Complementary safe and secured packaging will ensure smooth delivery of the food, thus, mitigate the negative reviews.
In addition to providing tasty and healthy food, secure packaging, the presentation of the same in the online menu must be aesthetically pleasing to hook customers.
Steps for keeping the freshness of the takeout food intact
1. The Sauces Should be Separated.
The first rule for food delivery is packing the sauces separately, thus, preventing. Non-segregation of the same elevates the chances of the main dish being mixed inappropriately with the sauce. No one likes that. Any liquid or moisture-filled substance should be separated and packed on the side
2. Piercing the Containers
Another way to prevent hot food from getting soggy is by making small piercing in the container. This makes way for the steam to escape. As a result, the dishes are to retain their texture or crispiness perfectly. However, this technique is inappropriate for containers comprising liquid food items. Piercing the container is specifically recommended for those containing hot and dry food such as rice dishes, Chicken Tenders and French Fries.
3. Separate Packaging of Cold & Hot Food
Hot and cold food items must never be carried in the same bag. For example, frozen desserts and hot soup should always be separated into different bags. In the case of longer delivery time, keeping hot and cold foods in the same bag can diminish the taste or texture of the same.
4. Provide Instructions for Reheating
Some food items lose heat very quickly. Thus, when the customer gets the delivery, the food is not as tasty as it was supposed to be. Warming the food can lead to the recovery of its former glory. There are many ways to do so, and these heating instructions are specific to food items. Heating can be done on a microwave oven or even a pan. The exact reheating method should be clearly mentioned. Such reheating instructions can be provided in the order notes, as a part of the packaging or in the email receipts. In this way, the customers will also be satisfied with their needs being taken care of.
5. Compartmental Containers
For delivering sensitive foods like the ones made out of dairy products or when the orders are of high priority, try using compartmentalized containers for the packaging and delivery. These enhance the customers’ experience by ensuring that the food items retain their freshness and are not mixed or damaged in any way.
6. Set a Special Delivery Menu
Fixing a specific delivery menu is absolutely essential. Everything available on-site should not be available for delivery. The emphasis here should be on the food items which have a high chance of remaining fresh in transit. The online ordering menu should be more focused on the travel-friendly dishes without compromising on the taste and quality.
Some special food items can also be termed as exclusive delivery orders. These dishes should be promoted online to attract as many customers as possible.
7. Start Small & Make it Big
If you are trying out taking online orders as a beginner, it is advisable to start with a small menu. The menu should be selective, and it should contain only those items that consume less cooking time and can withstand travel. At the same time, you can pay extra attention to packaging details like napkins and appropriate cutlery. This is definite to provide a complete customer experience.
Once they are pleased by the services, they are sure to repeat orders and subsequently be a regular customer at your restaurant.
8. Keep a reasonable food delivery radius
Usually, you would like to take the orders of as many customers as possible, even if they are far away. However, the larger the distance you travel to deliver, the higher are the chances of food quality degradation.
Hence, keep the delivery radius at an optimum level such that delivery time does not take more than half an hour. For priority delivery, a maximum of an hour’s delivery time could be maintained. This will ensure the customers get the food on time without delay. Further, the freshness of the food, when delivered, stays intact.
5 Ideal Travel-Friendly Food Items
By now, you are aware of the tips of keeping your food quality intact. Now, you should know about the special delivery items and how to plan them out. The below mentioned 5 items are sure to be the optimum choice of travel-friendly foods.
Penne arrabbiata Pasta
These are plates of pasta that need to be cooked quickly. They usually are in a dense state. Once finished, they take time to settle down. Therefore, the travel duration can act as the perfect time to make this dish settle down properly.
This is a special Indian curry, with chicken being the main ingredient used along with a variety of aromatic spices, which can travel very well. Reheating on a microwave is an excellent way to bring back the fresh taste. The dish should be accompanied with roti, naan, parathas or rice.
Chicken Noodle Soup
This dish comprises soups and cooked noodles. It must be delivered in spate containers. Otherwise, the noodles may turn all mushy. Customers receiving the dish can easily mix the two main components and enjoy the meal.
Fried rice, Paella, Pulao, or Biryani
These dishes are mainly rice dishes and all of them being dry are travel-friendly. Reheating these dishes can be done very easily in a microwave.
Pizza, Breakfast Pizza, Flatbreads, or Flammkuchen
These dishes are crust baked with diverse toppings. Even on long delivery, the crispiness is well retained. Hence slight reheating is enough.
How can your POS boost online orders?
1. Easy Modification of Menu
Menu modification should be easily allowed by your POS. It should be applicable for both your on-site and off-site orders. Make the interface of the POS in such a manner that changing an item in the menu is quick and hassle-free.
2. Ordering Online on the Restaurant’s Website
Creating a website for your restaurant can facilitate major business activities with ease. Even at instances of non-operation of major third-party apps or delivery services, you can still connect with your customers with ease. All you need is to feature delivery services. All your orders will be processed with a very marginal cost. Connect the online orders through the website directly to the restaurant POS system.
Further, being active on social media will help you in promoting your website effectively, leading to an increase in customer engagement.
3. Fitting in Trend and Closely Monitoring the Customer Complaints
You should incorporate your POS system in such a manner that tracking the discounts and the customer complaints are smooth. Regular reverting to customer reviews can add to your restaurant’s credibility.
The POS data is definite to highlight the case of multiple complains against a particular dish. Thus you can accordingly modify or change the ingredients and update the item. This move is sure to elevate your restaurant’s popularity among your customers.
The POS system is extremely handy at keeping the phone numbers and emails of the customers updated. Which, in turn, helps in creating loyalty programs, sending discounts & offer coupons to all kinds of customers is no more a headache.
Running a restaurant is full of challenges. Yet that satisfied smile on the customer’s face as an after-effect of your food satiating their taste buds is worth cherishing. Adopting online modes of serving customers is the need of the hour and must be incorporated for lubricating the operation of the celebrated service industry.