The closure of restaurants, bars and cafés is already a reality in some European countries as a measure to slow the spread of the virus - and more and more institutions are being closed in Germany as well. After the nationwide closure of schools and kindergartens, the next step in many places in Germany is now the restriction of catering establishments. It is impossible to predict how the situation will continue, but further tightening is quite likely. One way to avoid having to close down completely is to change over now and set up a delivery service. Alternatively, the food can currently still be prepared to order, picked up by the guests and eaten at home.
Once you have decided to integrate a delivery service into your business, you should ask yourself what exactly should be delivered - a wide selection of dishes or just a scaled-down product range? A wide selection will also appeal to a wide range of potential customers; a smaller, more specialized menu will have less competition. The big challenge in delivery is to ensure the freshness of the dishes. Therefore, it is recommended to include on the menu a selection of dishes that can be prepared fresh at any time. In addition, the dishes should be easy to pack and transport. Remember that the eye eats with you - even at your customers' homes!
With a loyal and steady customer base, the delivery service can provide a little extra revenue with relatively little effort. Especially at the moment, many people are so busy coping with the crisis that there is little time and energy left to cook for themselves. Also, for many, the delivery service represents a way to survive domestic quarantine or escape the risk of infection at the supermarket. With a vehicle, a driver and the appropriate transport boxes and containers, you are well equipped, because you already have the kitchen and the staff.
If the restaurant is not able to serve guests in the dining room or only to a limited extent, less service staff will be needed. Perhaps you can use your service staff to deliver meals and thus keep them employed despite the crisis!
As a rule, delivery services work better in cities than in rural areas, but the crisis is increasing demand for the service and creating new opportunities in rural areas as well. Conduct a target group analysis, which should be closely linked to the examination of the local structure. Depending on the delivery vehicle at your disposal, the catchment area will also be larger or smaller. Do not overestimate your capacities here, because if delivery times are too long, your customers will be dissatisfied.
You already have the resources to prepare the food, but what do you need for delivery? Probably the biggest hurdle for delivery is a suitable vehicle, because delivery on foot or by public transport is not practical. However, in addition to delivery by car, depending on the location and catchment area, delivery by bike can also be a good alternative. In addition, you will need packing material, transport boxes and thermo boxes for a smooth delivery that guarantees your customers' satisfaction. A phone is all you need to take the order. Instead of reservations, you now take your guests' requests directly. Instruct your service staff to take the orders conscientiously.
In Germany, you do not need a permit to deliver food and drinks to your home, only a trade license. It follows that you can expand your business to a delivery service without any further bureaucratic hurdles. Furthermore, all hygiene regulations apply naturally - especially because of the Corona crisis, these are particularly important!
If you have decided to take the step and supply your customers, advertising is especially important to inform them about the new offer! Think practical and simple here. Possibilities include a notice in your restaurant informing your breakfast and lunch guests, or flyers that you distribute in your catchment area. Your social media platforms are also suitable for informing about the new offer. Use all the channels through which you otherwise communicate with your customers. This way, you can reach potential customers with relatively little effort, and they'll definitely be excited about the offer! Who knows, you might even continue the new service once the crisis is over.
In terms of measures against the spread of the virus, contactless delivery is the best way to keep due distance in the delivery service. Lieferando has already switched to contactless delivery a few days ago. The goods are placed in front of the customer's door, while the delivery person moves a few meters away. The customer takes the delivered food from the bag and closes the door. Only after that, the supplier collects the carrier bag or hot box again. During the whole time, the goods are never left unattended. Payment is made online via PayPal or bank transfer. If you take over the delivery yourself, inform your suppliers how to behave properly. The measures protect your customers and your entire business.
Third-party providers like Lieferando have taken the German market by storm. Especially for a short-term delivery offer during the current crisis, using an already established platform can offer advantages: The advantages of third-party providers include free advertising and large market share. So with the outsourced solution, you benefit from the service provider's online and offline marketing activities and already established customer base. However, you have to pay a delivery fee and a percentage of gross sales to make deliveries with third parties.
Restaurants that offer specialty foods can often set up their own delivery services without losing a percentage of profit. Whether you deliver 100 percent in-house or use outside services, deliveries can raise your restaurant's profile, attract new customers and increase sales.