How Restaurants Can Successfully Pivot to Offer Delivery & Take-Out During COVID-19

By Raubi Perilli |

  | Mar 26, 2020  /  Solutions |

The good news for restaurants forced to close their dining rooms due to COVID-19 is that take-out and delivery are still approved in most cities and states.

Take-out and delivery services are a way to support your restaurant during the COVID-19 outbreak.

That means if your restaurant has never offered delivery or take-out -- now is the time to start.

Even fine dining restaurants or mom-and-pop shops with no delivery team should and can find a way to pivot their business during this unusual time.

If you have never offered take-out or delivery at your restaurant before, here are a few tips to help you get started.

#1) Decide what menu items to offer. 

First thing, look at your menu and decide what you will include on your to-go menu. Only offer items that will keep during travel, easily reheat, and be simple for your team to quickly cook. For example, a fine dining restaurant, Bern’s Steakhouse has a lengthy in-house menu, but they limited the menu for their take-out and deliveries to select items that travel best and would be in highest demand. 

#2) Offer drinks if you can. 

Drinks are a great way to increase ticket amounts, and because they have high-margins, they are also a good way to generate revenue for your restaurant. Remind customers that they can add drinks to their orders, and upsell them during the ordering process. Also, look at your local ordinance and see if you can offer alcoholic beverages to-go. Adding a bottle of wine to order is another way to boost revenue for your business. For example, a Mexican restaurant in Tampa, The Green Lemon is offering half-gallon pitchers of margaritas that customers can order with their take-out. 

#3) Add your menu to your website. 

Adding your menu to your website only takes a few clicks, so as soon as you decide on your menu, publish it on your site right away. Also, update your homepage to let customers know that you are offering takeaway service and link directly to the menu. 

#4) Set up online ordering. 

Then, get to work on setting up online ordering. Online ordering limits phone call management and also helps with order accuracy. If you need help with adding online ordering to your website, please contact MyArea Network to see how we can set up the right solution for you. 

#5) Join food delivery services. 

While it might not be in your long-term plans to be on a food-delivery service, now is the time to join. Adding your business to Uber Eats, DoorDash, or other popular delivery apps in your area will help you:

  • Get new customers who will find you via the app
  • Avoid setting up food delivery process of your own
  • Appeal to customers who don’t want to interact with anyone (as most apps have a "no contact" option that allows customers to pay and tip through the app)

#6) Update your online and social media profiles. 

Once you set up and offer your take-out options, update your online business profiles and social media sites to highlight this option. Make changes on:

#7) Offer an incentive deal.

There will be a lot of businesses competing with you for food delivery at this time, so make your brand stand out by offering a good deal or discount for takeaway orders. Consider adding a free appetizer or discount to drive interest and orders.

#8) Let your customers know. 

Once your systems are in place, let your customers know you are open for business. Use restaurant email marketing to announce your take-out and delivery options. Announce it on social media and pin the important message to the top of your page. And, change out social graphics to highlight to-go options. Then, keep promoting it. Send more email with new deals and discounts, and regularly update your social with photos that show your delivery options heading out of your restaurant.

Related: What's the Best Way to Communicate with Your Customers?

#9) Run ads to drive interest.

To help get the word out about your delivery options (especially if this is a new offering from your brand), consider running paid digital media advertising campaigns using location-based and geofencing marketing to reach the customers right around your business.

Get Help With Your Restaurant Pivot

If you need help with any of these suggestions, please reach out to the team at MyArea Network. We are here to serve local businesses and make sure you have what you need to get through this difficult and confusing time.

Learn more about how we are helping local and regional businesses here: Local Relief.   

Or, get more tips with our guide: How Restaurants Can Deal with COVID-19 Business Disruption.