When it comes to dining, convenience continues to be top of mind for consumers. Online ordering, on-demand expectations and hectic schedules are changing the way people eat. They are increasingly looking for speed and ease without sacrificing quality, taste and variety.
Last year, food delivery and takeout outperformed total traffic across full service, QSR and retail foodservice channels. And, with an abundance of third-party online apps to choose from, it is easier than ever for restaurant operators to take advantage of delivery and takeout opportunities to grow their business.
But, there are numerous factors operators should consider when leaping into delivery, not the least of which is food quality, because while consumers crave easier options, they are not willing to sacrifice food quality or taste for this convenience.
How can operators capitalize on the shifting industry landscape? What do they need to do to adapt to this new market opportunity? And, how do you ensure that the food quality your customers experience at home is in-line with what they would expect in your restaurant?
SUCCESS STARTS WITH MENU SELECTION
As you plan your delivery menu, there are several critical factors to consider. Finding the right balance between associated costs, what consumers crave and delivering on expectations with signature dishes is key.
Fried appetizers, snacks and sides show strong development and payoff potential and can help increase cheque size, especially as we continue to see a drop in beverage sales as a result of delivery. In fact, research shows that adding a fried appetizer selection to your delivery menu can increase profits by 38 per cent. They are also a great delivery option because they are popular, profitable and hold well.
Delivery can also be an opportunity to test new products, offering customers something new to try. Customers are drawn to smaller price points so to meet and even exceed the minimum order threshold, consider featuring special product options or offerings to grow dining cheques, such as small-sized apps or a delivery fee deal after a specific cheque size.
DELIVERING CONSISTENT QUALITY
One of the biggest issues when it comes to delivery is consistency and quality control. Some food items, like pizza, have mastered delivery. Others require a little more innovation. Ensuring that the food being delivered is as good as it is in the restaurant is critical to success. In fact, according to Technomic, 94 per cent of Canadian consumers expect the same or better food quality when ordering delivery as they do when dining in the restaurant. Herein lies the challenge: How do you ensure your customers get the quality they expect?
Select ingredients that are optimized for delivery. For example, larger cut French fries with thicker coatings like wedges offer better options as they’re able to hold the heat and crispiness longer. At McCain Foodservice, we’ve created several delicious products that are well suited to withstand delivery and takeout, such as our Twisted Potatoes, Sea Salt Fries and Pickle Spears.
Make sure you’re packaging the food properly. McCain Foodservice tested several delivery packages to determine the best options for packing French fries and appetizers.
Here is what we discovered worked best:
- Use open-mouth containers and place near the top of the bag
- Refrain from using Styrofoam
- Insert napkins between fry containers to absorb steam
- Vented packaging to release steam and preserve crispness
- Clear packaging to ensure accuracy
- Separate hot and cold items
- Place condiments on the side
- Seal delivery bag to avoid tampering
- Finally, consider setting a delivery radius, limiting the distance traveled to within a few kilometers of your restaurant to ensure food arrives hot and fresh.
By keeping the above in mind, diving into delivery may present a new opportunity to build customer loyalty and drive greater business success while maintaining a focus on profit.
Are you a restaurant that does delivery? Check out Restaurants Canada’s exclusive Continuous Temperature Food Delivery System.