While nonessential businesses have been recommended or in some cases ordered to shut their doors by governments around the world, restaurants have largely been spared. However, this is only the case if they can serve their guests via pickup or delivery. Some jurisdictions have even allowed bars and restaurants to serve alcohol provided their license allows them to serve it in their establishment.
Changing your operations to takeout only is pretty straightforward. You can simply take orders over the phone or via one of the myriad available apps. At that point, you prepare the order and wait for the customer to come make payment, if they haven’t already done so, and grab their food and/or drinks while maintaining appropriate social distancing. One drawback to serving nothing but takeout is that you need far fewer employees to continue operations. While this may be a good thing from a bottom-line perspective, it’s not so good if taking care of your employees is high on your priority list.
But as more and more people elect to stay home, takeout business is likely to dwindle. You may be forced to consider implementing delivery options even if this is something you had previously ruled out as a component of your service. One upside to this from a holistic standpoint is that you’ll be able to put some if not all of your employees back to work under your new business model, especially if you’re able to sell alcohol.
Implementing Delivery Capabilities
These days, many restaurants that take delivery orders do so through a third-party service that collects orders from an app and/or website and sends them electronically directly to the restaurant. Some even offer integration with your POS system. These companies typically charge a monthly fee as well as a percentage of each order, so it may not be financially feasible to go this route. However, you may want to shop around as some of these services are offering discounts due to the COVID19 pandemic.
Delivery as it’s typically practiced in the restaurant industry is pretty straightforward. A customer calls or otherwise sends their order to the restaurant; the restaurant takes payment via one of these methods, makes the food, and then distributes it to the customer along with any orders going to customers in the same area. Your restaurant POS system may or may not have built-in features to make managing deliveries easier; if not, these are likely available as an add-on.
In addition to putting a bartender or two back to work if your alcohol business starts booming once again, your wait staff can make great delivery people. If you’re in an urban area and cars aren’t common amongst your staff, a bike with a trailer is an effective option. It gets people outside, and they’re also performing a service for the community.
Delivery Under COVID19
The COVID19 outbreak has also disrupted the typical delivery paradigm. Delivery services now default to allowing their workers to drop food at someone’s front door or in the lobby of an apartment building. On the restaurant side, owners should allow delivery personnel access to hand sanitizers at a minimum. Surfaces that these people will come into contact with should be continually disinfected.
The Coronavirus has forced restaurants of all types to step outside of their comfort zone, as it were. However, it may turn out that they discover that delivery is a hitherto untapped source of revenue that will continue far beyond this pandemic.
delivery guy at elevator smiling -DepositPhotos