The demand for superior food delivery services is on the rise. It’s predicted that more than 50% of consumers’ restaurant spending in 2020 will take place outside of a restaurant.
This trend probably comes as no surprise. Food delivery services, take-out, and drive-throughs make it easy to enjoy food from the comfort of one’s own home. From millennials that want to binge-watch the latest Netflix series, to busy parents with no time to cook, food delivery has a widespread appeal, making up 25% of off-premises orders.
Based on data gathered by Tattle’s customer experience survey platform, when a third-party delivery service is involved, guest satisfaction is 20% lower than that of dine-in guests. GrubHub, Uber Eats and other delivery apps are convenient for some people, but they can also be disorganized and present a variety of customer service issues. This underscores the fact that today’s consumer has more options than ever before, and businesses seeking to retain existing customers or win new ones must give customers more reasons to choose them—and stick around.
Not offering delivery may eliminate this issue—but your brand will miss out on an opportunity projected to grow exponentially in the next few years. So whether you already offer food delivery, or you’re thinking about adding it, you should first be aware of the following common food delivery challenges to prepare yourself accordingly.
1. Customers will hold your restaurant accountable, door to door.
Long after the food leaves the kitchen and reaches a consumer, your restaurant will still be blamed for issues that may arise—even those caused by a third-party delivery service.
To maintain control over the experience, many brands decide to create an in-house delivery system with their own online ordering tool, often powered by a SaaS solution such as Olo.
Regularly collecting customer experience feedback can also provide more visibility into off-premises experiences so you can address issues, recover guests, and maintain a positive brand image. You can offer high-quality, seamless food delivery experiences to your guests at all touchpoints of their journey. By offering an omnichannel experience that syncs with your existing POS system and payment processing tools, Olo provides a fully customizable solution that helps drive repeat business, increase average check size, boost customer loyalty, and increase overall profitability.
2. Food quality can go from being the best part of the guest experience to being the worst part.
Based on customer experience data gathered by Tattle, restaurant chains typically see their lowest Customer Experience Rating (CER) scores on delivery orders. Food quality often goes from being the best part of the dine-in customer experience to being the worst part, for the at-home customer.
Unfortunately, some dishes that may taste excellent when served up fresh might not travel well in a typical delivery carton. Again, patrons will blame the restaurant if their burger and fries arrive cold and soggy. For this reason, restaurants participating in delivery should address this with new packaging. In one example, Red Robin’s new transparent packaging helps ensure order accuracy without needing to open the lid, which helps maintain the food’s temperature.
If a dish is excellent when eaten dine-in, but it may not travel well when delivered to the home, would new packaging help? For that reason, Red Robin chefs and managers explored how to better understand and reduce the impact of poor food quality on delivery orders. For example, one idea was to use transparent packaging that allowed for food temperature monitoring to be done at the point of order. In addition, this method also reduced tampering (the act of opening the packaging and/or replacing food) by consumers. Furthermore, it enabled staff to inspect a meal before attempting delivery (for example, ensuring appropriate quantities or checking whether all food ordered was actually in the box). As a result, order errors are reduced while customer satisfaction scores increased.
3. Your restaurants might not know how to efficiently handle delivery orders.
Chains that are new to the delivery space may not have a designated place for delivery or pick-up orders. In some extreme cases, we even noticed some locations stacking up food delivery orders on top of the dine-in tray return counter. As a result, delivery drivers would walk in and didn’t know where to find orders — some even gave up and left.
Formalizing delivery logistics in your stores, especially if you outsource to a third party, can prevent delivery delays, lost meals, and food quality issues. It’s recommended that you keep food at the proper temperature until pickup, and provide a designated way for drivers to get them so that orders can arrive in the condition expected.
Given the many moving parts in the food delivery process, keeping track of pickups and dropoffs, as well as the safe transportation of food, can be particularly challenging. However, there are many ways to handle this entire process. Did you know that the Pizza Hut corporation has its own delivery system for all locations? This system helps them maintain a standard that matters to their customers. Examine what is important to you and your consumers, and then find a way to handle deliveries accordingly.
One way to find out what matters to your customers is through detailed and intuitive surveys. Tattle applies a causation-based methodology to help you uncover the most important factors affecting the delivery experience, so you can better prioritize and achieve steady progress.
4. Order accuracy can plummet.
According to customer feedback data collected by Tattle, order accuracy for many multi-unit brands tend to be the top-rated categories for dine-in experiences, but the lowest-rated for delivery experiences. This is understandable, given that delivery orders tend to come with a lot more logistical complexities and external factors that might not be within the restaurant team’s control (e.g. weather, drivers etc.).
Unfortunately, some brand concepts were not designed with delivery in mind. Consider fast-casual eateries with an assembly line approach, where food is prepared before the customers’ eyes. Order accuracy is more difficult to go wrong with the customer there to “supervise” the assembly line staff. Delivery orders, on the other hand, don’t have this safeguard. Therefore brands that follow the assembly-line model may need to implement additional staff training to address the accuracy of delivery orders.
Despite the potential challenges, a thoughtful meal delivery strategy can help your brand excel in the ever-evolving restaurant industry — and that starts with close monitoring of your off-premise guest experience.. Learn more about how you can monitor customer experiences, no matter where they occur in the customer journey.
Since the pandemic has accelerated the increasing popularity of delivery and takeout services, it’s more important than ever for restaurant brands to navigate a successful transition into off-premise ordering. To attract and retain customers, restaurants must offer consistent quality, efficiency, and service. That’s why we believe that by adopting a customer-centric off-premise strategy, there’s a high likelihood brands can succeed.
By collecting 20x more feedback data points and providing algorithm-backed improvement recommendations, Tattle enables restaurant partners to make more than half of their operational decisions based on user feedback data on the platform. Not only are they able to manage and correspond with customers in real time, but also they can drive long-term strategic roadmaps with Tattle’s intelligent recommendations. To learn more about the solution, you can watch a quick video or get a demo today.