Before COVID-19, online delivery had already started its spread to the restaurant industry. Consumers craved convenience in all aspects of their lives – a demand which, combined with new technologies, was transforming the way restaurants operate from the kitchen floor and up.
Then, COVID-19 happened and that need for convenience only increased. Takeout and delivery became the new norm, first out of necessity, later gaining traction as restaurants around the world were pivoting to online business models.
One thing is certain: off-premises dining is here to stay. So why should your restaurant jump on the food delivery bandwagon? Here are 3 reasons why you should consider offering online delivery services.
1. You’ll reach more customers
Expanding your business online will help you reach more customers than you ever could with your brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Offering online ordering as an option can get your foot in the door when it comes to target groups that prefer delivery food, like millennials, singles, families with younger children, students, office workers looking to have lunch with colleagues,… etc. Some of these audiences may not yet have had any interaction with your brand, up until the moment you start selling meals online.
2. You’ll have more business opportunities
Meal delivery is a perfect opportunity to sell dishes even if you no longer have tables available. A physical restaurant is limited by its maximum number of covers, but you can “hack the system” with delivery.
Additionally, having an online offer is a good way to sell during off-peak moments – when your restaurant might not be that busy.
A good delivery menu encourages cross-selling, as well. Your online customers have all the time in the world to go through your entire menu – which should be concise, clear and categorized – before making a decision.
If you make it attractive to order a drink, dessert or appetizer along with a main dish, these consumers are very likely to add more items to their basket. Incentives like discounts for package deals or free delivery over a specific order amount can do the trick.
Moreover, setting up delivery also gives you more room to experiment. You can easily segment your business into different virtual brands to increase findability when people are looking for a specific type of food. It’s also quite simple and risk-free to introduce new menu items, special deals and limited offers to your online offering.
3. You’ll have increased profits
An obvious benefit of getting into the food delivery business is the increased revenues you’ll make by serving more customers than you have tables. But more than that, delivery is often more profitable than traditional restaurant sales.
When you streamline your delivery services by integrating your delivery channels into your POS, you don’t need to hire additional staff to handle incoming online orders, as your entire order flow will be automated. Therefore, you can start selling meals online without having to hire extra employees to do it – and without paying more labor costs.
Additionally, you don’t need to rent a new location to serve online ordering customers, or furnish a restaurant or buy new kitchen equipment and tools. On top of that, your food cost remains the same. It’s safe to say that opting out of delivery will leave you with the same basic costs, but keep you from enjoying the additional returns delivery can bring.
While it is true that you should also take into account the monthly commission fees taken by third-party food services, you shouldn’t forget that the average consumer ordering food online is highly willing to pay a premium for the convenience of restaurant-quality food delivered just minutes after cooking.
The most important argument to be made in favor of delivery is therefore perhaps that you are simply giving today’s customer what they want: a convenient, quick and personalized way of experiencing tasty food, without having to sacrifice their own time to do so.