Americans are becoming more and more willing to pay a little extra for the convenience of having food delivered to their homes than ever before. Whether they want to stay in and catch up on TV shows and movies, or just don’t want to venture out, all it takes is a phone call or click to have food delivered right to their couch. But how is this affecting you, the restaurant owner?
Bottom line - providing a delivery service will increase business and sales, even during non-peak hours. Your restaurant will see an entirely new customer base through word-of-mouth referrals and increased online traffic which could mean even more potential profits.
The downside? You will need to spend extra marketing dollars to reach those potential customers with coupons, offers or other traffic builders, and to make sure your website has online ordering capabilities. It will also call for more staff - including drivers- and better point-of-sale (POS) software that can track orders and delivery times so food is delivered fresh and hot to your customers’ door. Not to mention the added cost of car tops, uniforms and other necessary supplies, insulated bags and even driver vehicle insurance. Luckily, most of these are just one-time purchases.
Your POS system should also be primed and ready to keep tabs on clients with a streamlined customer database, specific to your restaurant. A system that tracks customers by name, phone number or email address is essential to a smooth order and delivery process. This database will be the key to quickly tracking previous orders, and allowing the push for product add-ons. Also make sure your current point-of-sale system can help with unfamiliar categories like driver delivery time, online orders and payments, tip tracking and change errors, which will suddenly be a concern for your restaurant. Even scheduling the right number of employees can be a new challenge. Test thoroughly; it might be time for a POS upgrade.
Another factor to think about when considering delivery services is credit cards payments. Many pizza delivery business owners do not think of payment processing as a major influence on their revenue; but when you think of how many more credit card numbers will have to be keyed in manually rather than swiped for delivery, the extra processing charges add up. Additionally, if the customer leaves a tip for the driver (like they should) you have to go back and re-run the tickets at the end of the night to close. Just make sure the driver doesn’t lose their receipts! Now, there are a couple of third-party credit card processing companies out there that specifically tailor to delivery services and could help get your rates down as well, so check those out if you are concerned.
Speaking of third-party trends, third-party delivery services are booming. These services offer owners with a source of revenue minus the pitfalls of hiring and insuring your own drivers. No scheduling hassles, no extra branding items and no dealing with complaints about an employee’s driving or attitude towards a customer. Not sure you trust an outside company? Well, the nice thing about a third party service is that you can just hire them when you are low on drivers or if you have a massive amount of orders that come in at once. They may even deliver outside your normal delivery area, so you might get a few new potential customers without travelling the extra miles yourself. The downside, however, is that the third party won’t know your menu or your company, so mistakes are more likely to occur. They won’t be in a big hurry to deliver so you’ll have no control over the quality of the delivered product, and they also won’t be wearing your company uniform when they knock on customer’s doors. The biggest con is that you will have to pay them a portion of every order- most likely 20-30% of the order total- and that can eat away your profits in a hurry. Is that a deal breaker? You decide what is best for your company and your clients to see if the risk is worth the reward.
Delivery might seem like a whole new world to those just starting out, but your restaurant will definitely experience a few positive changes right away like an increase in business, more notoriety, a busier kitchen and new customers ordering online and over the phone. As long as you have a reliable POS system and employees that can handle the increased business, you should be able to just sit back and enjoy the extra income with adding a delivery service.
Breakaway Restaurant Solutions specializes in point-of-sale (POS) and online ordering software for the pizza, delivery, quick-service, and fast casual restaurant market segments.
Written by: Samantha Stuhlman, BRS Marketing