Restaurant Delivery Optimization Strategies for COVID-19
We’ve never seen such a blow to hospitality business like this. It’s why we have to keep using words like “unprecedented” in everything we write; we can’t overstate it though, COVID-19 anxieties are real, and they’re widespread. Though everyone is feeling them on some level, we can’t give in to hopelessness; there will be an end to this, though we might not be able to see it yet. Right now, let’s focus on facts surrounding the outbreak, examining what’s happened and bracing for what’s to come. In discussing any restaurant delivery optimization strategies for COVID-19, we must examine the data.
- Data from DineTime indicates that seated guest business is down 100%, per the government’s directive to shut down any on-premise dining and large gathering.
- Currently, off-premise dining (takeout, delivery, or catering) is every restaurant’s sole means of revenue.
- Analyzing data from ConnectSmart Kitchen shows that this off-premise revenue is down an average of 79%*
*Note. This data changes frequently! To stay up-to-date, you can follow the QSR Automations COVID-19 data sheet, which we update daily.
Knowing the battle before us, we can seek solutions, informed by data, and not fester in unknowns. Since off-premise dining is the only way a restaurant can survive right now, it’s essential to know what that entails. Restaurant technology is critical to optimizing any restaurant’s off-premise dining strategy. Through automation and integration, these restaurant solutions, like a kitchen display system, help maintain food quantity, quality, and output. They can also help you streamline inefficiencies and remove errors — a critical feature, with so many variables upending our workflows.
Before we go on: selling technology to any restaurant operator right now is tacky. We’re not doing that! But we do want to examine some features of your existing technology that will help immeasurably during this unprecedented (there’s that word again) crisis. Here’s our guide on delivery optimization strategies for COVID-19.
Intuitive and Backed by Support
You need technology that’s simple and error-proof, whether you’re combating turnover or transitioning team members into off-premise roles. Technology backed by a support team can help you should you encounter technical issues. If you’re not sure about your technology’s support team, find out how to contact them now. Keep that information immediately available to you and your staff. You might also consider seeking online review sites to determine an excellent support team.
Furthermore, you don’t want anything challenging for your staff to learn. The idea is that if an employee is using the device up for the first time, they could effortlessly use it to its full measure. At a time when your roster might shift, you don’t want technology that will slow things down or take too long to learn.
Smart communication can soothe frazzled nerves in times of instability. In the world of restaurant technology, you often see the term “smart.” For our industry, it means keeping different stations of your operation, or devices, conscious and reactive of another. Restaurant technology integrations, like a kitchen system to a POS or a guest management platform to the kitchen, eliminate errors in the handoff. In other words, when the guest orders their meal, an integration delivers that information directly to the kitchen. With data flowing seamlessly between stations, staff members can stay aware of orders and statuses. Without having to leave their post, they’re not wasting energy. Your front-of-house staff can stay on top of the orders in the kitchen (which have finished and which are in-progress) without even having to leave their station. This kind of cognizance also cuts down on contact between your employees.
Integrations also help with your off-premise efforts in providing accurate pickup times for your guests. Integration to the kitchen with a capacity management feature means that you can give your guests a precise time to pick up their meal because it predicates on real-time activity. So, when you’re busier, these times will increase, and they’ll dynamically shrink when traffic slows again.
Analytics and Aggregation
Off-premise dining is a broad term and includes many variations. You need technology that can organize your various order types. Whether it’s delivery, carryout, or even catering, the right technology will aggregate them into a polished, digestible format. This kind of broad view helps you stay vigilant over your operation and spot any inefficiencies. You can even use these reports to “A/B test” some of your different delivery partners or processes to see which ones perform best in different circumstances.
With social distancing and a shutdown of supreme importance, the best way for us to speak and share information is through communicative technology. Think about all the different ways you’re probably using texting, video chatting, and other methods to keep in touch with your loved ones. Restaurant technology that can automatically send notifications or SMS updates to customers will simplify (and modernize) the dining experience for everyone.
With automatic SMS updates, you can let your guests know the status of their order automatically, without any extra effort on your end. With disruptions and cancelations, the new normal to everyone’s schedule, any feature that keeps customers in the loop, is a good one.
We Know We’ll See More — But It’s Not Permanent
This pandemic is overwhelming. We know it, but we’re going to survive, and the industry is going to swing back. We can’t do it passively, though. If we unite as a restaurant community, we can understand that what’s affecting one of us is affecting us all. Moreover, we must examine the revenue streams we can still generate, despite the stifling difficulties we face.
By seeking technology which simplifies your workflows, and which provides smart, accessible data and integrations, you can enact a solid restaurant delivery optimization strategies for COVID-19.
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About the Author
Dylan Chadwick is the Content Marketing Manager at QSR Automations. He graduated from Brigham Young University with an English degree and journalism focus and loves to write, draw and paint. When left to his own devices, he enjoys loud music, adorable dogs and documentaries about the aforementioned.