Even as government regulations restrict or eliminate dine-in options and public concern over COVID-19 grows, consumers still need the sustenance and, especially, the convenience they count on from the operations they know and trust.
Step up to the plate to meet those needs with takeout and delivery services that comply with regulations, protect staff and customers, and also help your bottom line during this challenging time.
If you already offer takeout and delivery, you may only need to make minor adjustments to the way you do business. If not, be assured that consumers increasingly have been welcoming restaurant foods from all segments into the comfort of their own homes. So, while it is definitely not the best of times, it is still a time of opportunity for connecting with community and meeting needs in memorable ways that instill customer loyalty.
Think Outside the Box
Takeout and delivery services mean your customers can count on food that’s readily available without having to venture into the fray.
Become a neighborhood hub
In addition to prepared foods, sell a variety of grocery items — meat, seafood, dairy, fresh veggies, dairy, beverages, etc. — a la carte in bulk amounts from your inventory. Individuals who are at high risk for COVID-19, are sheltering in place, or who have limited transportation options for ranging far and wide in the face of shortages at local grocers will appreciate having access to these provisions. Working with Shamrock Foods, your operation can be a vital resource for these consumers.
Offer Meal Kits
Menu pre-packaged meal kits with ingredients and instructions customers can use to create complete meals in their own home.
Create family meals with a main course, sides, bread and beverages for four or more. Priced as a package, they offer families convenience and offer you an opportunity to keep sales strong. Publish weekly or monthly menus that allow families to plan ahead, or to know their options at a glance when last-minute needs arise.
Create Safe fulfillment and payment options
Take advantage of current offers such as Grubhub’s commitment to release commissions from independents due to the increased need to keep the industry in business.
Make special arrangements for pickup and delivery options, including:
- Indoor pickup at your takeout counter. For the sake of social distancing, consider limiting the number of people who can enter your pickup area at one time based on available space.
- Outdoor pickup via a walk-up window, or by your front door.
- Curbside delivery to cars.
- Local delivery within a specific radius via your own staff or an established delivery service.
To reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19, consider these options:
- Limit your service hours.
- Offer online payment via your website.
- Accept payment via phone apps, PayPal and email.
- Equip delivery personnel with gloves and hand sanitizer (as DoorDash does).
- Consider offering a food drop-off option that avoids contact between delivery personnel and customers.
- Have drivers wipe down vehicle door handles and other touchpoints on delivery vehicles.
Give special attention to menus and packaging
Create dedicated takeout and delivery menus
Limit items to those that travel well.
Use safe packaging
Place food in tamper-proof containers best suited to the food, and transport them in new, fully sealable bags.
Stay in communication
Post to your website and reach out using your active marketing channels such as social media and email. Alert the media to get coverage about your efforts. Post your takeout and delivery menus and photos of the gorgeous food items you’re still selling. Post your takeout/delivery hours and conditions and remind users to check back often for updates.
Promote gift cards
Sell virtual and actual gift cards that bring in an immediate cash infusion and offer consumers yet another form of convenience. Consider incentivizing gift cards — e.g., buy $100 in gift cards and receive a $20 gift card you can then give to someone in need. Promote these cards as great gifts for any time of the year. Suggest to customers that they can pay it forward and then treat themselves to dining in again once regular service is reinstated.
Create a special reward program specific to takeout/delivery and make the rewards within easy reach to keep guests coming back.
Above all, be overt in expressing gratitude for community support at this time.
Have a strategy that is working for your business? We’d love to hear about it! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share and we’ll feature you on our website and social media!
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