Best Practices for Restaurants Online, Delivery & Pickup
As social distancing and stay-at-home orders increase, so does the desire for takeout. A lot of restaurants have had to come up with new processes or scale existing processes on the fly. As such, we put together a list of best practices from restaurant managers, delivery drivers, and customers like yours. We hope our research and list of best practices will help ease your transition.
Provide easy access to your menu with full descriptions
For many, this may be their first-time ordering takeout from you, or they want to try something new. If potential customers question what's in the food or how many come in an order, they will likely call or choose another restaurant. If you're selling alcohol, don't forget the beer, wine, or cocktail menu.
Immediately display contactless options
Everyone is looking to avoid people as much as possible. You can adequately set expectations by letting them know what options they have, be it contactless delivery or contactless curbside pickup.
Replicate in-store menus
Whenever possible, display the full menu as people are used to ordering the food they want and will get frustrated if the menu available online isn't the same as in-store.
Avoid free-text only customizations. Instead, display customizable options on the same screen as the item itself. Ex: No sauce, no onions, extra pickles.
Make any required selections clear and easy to edit
If a specification is required, i.e., size, type of bread, etc., make the options easily accessible, immediately call out any missed fields, and make it easy to correct. Remember, you likely have new customers coming in that haven't used these apps before!
Show all selections and customizations in shopping cart
Don't leave customers wondering if they remembered to get those pickles off their food; always show any customization done to their items in the cart so they can ensure everything looks correct before placing their order.
Default to 'Leave at the Door'
Many, if not all, delivery services have implemented a contactless policy, allowing drivers to leave orders at the door without any physical interaction with the customer. Encourage drivers to check with the customers if they'd like the doorbell rung after the food is delivered.
Be very clear about how tips work, and try to ensure all tips go to the drivers
Customers want to support their delivery drivers during these difficult times and will feel reassured, knowing that 100% of their gratuity is going to their drivers.
Encourage big tips by defaulting high
Customers rely on default tip suggestions to help figure out what they should be tipping. Defaulting to the upper end of standard tips (20%) will encourage higher tipping to the drivers during these uncertain times. Consider putting a note somewhere in the checkout process encouraging customers to tip their drivers well since they're putting themselves at risk to deliver the food.
Avoid small delivery fees during the crisis
If at all possible, consider waiving (or adjusting) small-order delivery fees during this crisis. Many folks home by themselves won't meet standard minimum order amounts.
Streamline customer support
Given the likely increase in demand for food delivery and the corresponding increase in the need for customer support, automate common customer support issues (e.g., reporting a forgotten item) within the app or online receipt.
Don't underestimate or overpromise on delivery times
People are likely going to be more flexible than ever right now as they're stuck at home and happy to be getting food delivered but will still get frustrated if you promise 20-30-minute delivery, and it takes an hour.
Don't underestimate and overpromise on pick up times
You don't want people showing up too early and waiting for long periods. The goal is to keep the number of people down to a minimum.
Provide pickup instructions on the site and order confirmation
At the end of checkout, present clear instructions for how the pickup will work and the time allowed for making additions or deletions to the order. For ASAP pickups, there should be no changes allowed.
Ensure pickup area is visibly marked
Your customers are already nervous. This may be their first time, or they've sent someone else to pick up their order. Knowing what to do and where to go will help ease some of their anxiety.
Avoid physical interaction between the employee and the customer
Social distancing. Use the passenger side window for curbside delivery or store orders in a designated place for pick up.
Ensure your cashiers and food handlers protect themselves and their customers
Even though everyone is trying to avoid touching, employees constantly come in contact with things that people touch. Things like credit cards, cash, doors, and countertops create opportunities to transfer the virus. Encourage your employees to practice regular sterilization of their hands and the things that people touch.
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Photo taken by Clem Onojeghuo