Streamline the Rush: Solving the Pain Points Created by Delivery Apps
4 Min Read By Bobby Connors
The “Ding!” noises chirping from veritable command centers of tablets in restaurants throughout the country have become a ubiquitous symphony thanks to the staying power of third-party delivery apps offering unparalleled convenience and accessibility to consumers.
Offering increased visibility for brands and expanding the pool of customers restaurants are able to reach, the dynamic services these apps provide are essential for owners and operators competing for relevance and market share in a rapidly shifting landscape of business models utilizing SaaS technology.
Running a successful, finely-tuned takeout operation is a complex and challenging endeavor no longer relegated to businesses basing their models primarily on delivery sales. The modern restaurant ecosystem demands that businesses of all shapes and styles, from full-service fine dining to quick-serve fast-casual, incorporate third-party delivery systems into their business models, strategic planning, Front and Back of House training and physical design.
Framing the thoughtful end-to-end management of all aspects of delivery app services as a top priority can empower restaurants to cultivate fruitful partnerships and capitalize on opportunities from a powerful stance of planned execution rather than reactionary necessity.
Empathize With Delivery Drivers
Human beings making their own cost-benefit analyses throughout the course of a demanding day, delivery drivers are by definition independent contractors. While perhaps a consistent feature of your daily business, they are not your employees.
Treating drivers like guests, with all of the civility and hospitality that comes with that, can ensure that these crucial partnerships are coordinated seamlessly in a mutually beneficial way. This can begin by simply understanding the immediate concerns of a driver when they enter your establishment — for densely populated urban markets this often boils down to bets drivers are repeatedly making on limited parking options.
Immediately acknowledging a driver’s presence, followed with an accurate estimate (as best you can) of the wait time for an order, can instantly deescalate their level of urgency and help them to make more informed choices about where to park, or even when to cancel an order — which can cue up another driver more quickly and preserve a speedy delivery time. Where possible, designating a driver waiting area can further accommodate drivers, staff and other patrons.
Critically, the language and tone that other guests overhear throughout every interaction within your purview make an impactful impression about your values. Let your compassion and preparedness shine.
Empower Your Staff
Properly training all of your employees on the details of each facet of your delivery procedures can mean the difference between scrambling to make up for mistakes and delighting new and regular customers.
Allowing (and trusting) staff to make decisions in real-time about orders can drastically speed up operations and reduce the amount of personnel required to be involved with each order. For example, if a server notices that an item ordered through a certain app is no longer on the menu, if they have been thoroughly trained they can make a call to either make a substitution or contact the driver or customer based on the specifics of that app without including a manager. 86-ing ingredients and all of the communication that comes with that process should also be managed as quickly as possible.
Continuity is invaluable when it comes to keeping track of often complicated delivery orders with specific requests and subtle differences. Where feasible, dedicating one person (a bartender or host, for instance) to managing delivery orders can ensure that details don’t get lost in the shuffle.
Training your staff to thoroughly check every single order, at a specified point in the process, is arguably the most crucial step of all to avoid difficult-to-remedy mistakes after the fact. This is made all the easier when done at the expo line or up front before anything goes into a bag to increase efficiency.
Lean Into Tech
Taking advantage of customizable features and the evolving capabilities of technology can ensure your restaurant’s relationship with third-party apps gives you a competitive advantage and strengthens your business on your terms.
It is worth investing time to develop relationships with each delivery company to optimize the integration of their unique services into your POS system. Auto-firing orders to the kitchen, for example, is a time-saving game changer. Some simple trouble-shooting up front can alleviate any concerns about errors created by eliminating manual order entry.
Make sure that you and your staff know how to pause or turn off devices proactively to avoid overwhelming your kitchen and guarantee that in-house guests get the timely attention they deserve. Additionally, keeping your website up to date and properly synced with each app can avoid price discrepancies and confusion.
Finally, reaching out to high-volume frequent customers such as local offices serving their employees lunch to create options for them to pre-order their meals provides valuable time to address issues and adequately prepare the kitchen in advance for increased volume. Offering substitutions in a simple way that charges for the things you want and avoids lengthy special instructions that can strain a language barrier also improves consistency.
Third-party delivery apps present both nuanced challenges and exciting opportunities for restaurants to showcase their specialties to consumers deciding between more options than ever. Treating every stage of the process with the same respect and calibrated precision you devote to other elements of operations can differentiate your brand and drive transformational results.