Dine-in to Delivery: Pivoting Your Business
As the pandemic spread, it caused havoc amongst food service operators; forcing previously long-standing restaurants to close their doors. Whilst some have packed up and gone home, many are adapting, pivoting their business in order to make the most of the extensive food delivery network in place and adapt to provide takeaway-style food. As such, previously dine-in, high street restaurants, are adopting dark kitchens or shaded sites in order to do so. As their spaces are emptied of customers, restaurants, grocers and independents are becoming ‘cloud’ sites that produce takeaway food for delivery only.
With our specialism in Dark Kitchens and some expert advice from our Founder and operational guru, Mike Faers, we have decided to offer some advice to those businesses thinking about making the change. Here’s a short blast of what you need to know.
1. Customer Experience
Everybody knows that the customer is key, and that providing a great customer experience is vital to any great restaurant. We know that part of the reason people go out to eat is to feel this multi-sensory dining experience that we should get when visiting a restaurant and when forced to eat a home, as consumers are now, many will crave this this again.
In this light, re-creating this sense of occasion for customers ordering food to their home is essential in mimicking the experience of eating out. Afterall, if spending a premium on delivered food doesn’t live up to expectations, the consumer may as well cook for themselves.
There are a few ways this can be achieved:
- Make sure the food is hot – there is nothing that screams takeaway food more than a lukewarm main course stuffed into a plastic tub. Invest in hot holding equipment to keep food hot until it is collected.
- Keep it fresh – when eating out, consumers experience food fresh from the kitchen that has travelled a mere 3 metres to their table, the closer you can get to achieving this the better. Try including additions to the order which are to be added on arrival; a wedge of lemon, a pot of chilli oil or fresh herbs, these will help to refresh the food before eating,
2. Packaging and Aesthetics
They say a picture (or two) speaks a thousand words and this certainly does. Launched back in 2015, the branding agency Pearlfisher was behind the design of Wagamama’s aesthetic takeaway packaging. It was designed to mimic it’s restaurants and re-create the authentic ‘Wagas’ experience. Whilst this is not to say your business should go and splash out on an expensive packaging re-design, it makes the point of the importance of packaging to takeaway food and how much it can add to, or reduce, the customer experience.
3. USP: Keep it Fresh
With so many restaurants in a similar situation, there are lots of businesses doing the same thing. The harsh reality of this is that, at one time, there are probably 3 burger joints offering a delivery service in your area at the same time as you.
How do you get around this? A USP or Unique Selling Point.
In order to compete, your business needs to stand out from the crowd. In this light, you are better off having three brands serving three different specialist foods rather than 1 brand that does them all. A brand whose menu is too long should immediately ring alarm bells as its quantities could indicate lack of quality and specialism.
Once you have mastered the basics, allow yourself to be agile; you can be consistent whilst remaining original. Online ordering of food allows a higher ability to make change, quickly. With feedback from customers being live (and don’t assume that because you aren’t facing your client that they will be any less included to complain) businesses should adapt, and fast. Some dishes, previously bestsellers, may not transfer well to a takeaway format, take information like this seriously and alter your menu accordingly without being afraid to do so.
4. Consistency: Internal Operation Execution
Once you’ve decided what your USP is going to be, the next thing is consistency. Every customer, on every day, should experience the same thing from week to week. This not only ensures quality control but also means that your food becomes something customers can rely on and trust to be good, each and every time.
Standard Operating Procedures or SOPS are an important driver on consistency in a food delivery business. Each dish should have an SOP detailing what the product should look like when sent out for delivery, presentation, garnishes, methodology and what the customer should receive. Where the menu acts as a guide in a restaurant environment, SOPs take this role with takeaway food.
5. Logistic Suppliers: UberEats or Deliveroo?
So you’ve decided on your USP, your procedures are bullet proof so you provide great looking, delicious food consistently; you now need to decide how to get it to the consumer.
There are a plethora of different aggregators to choose from and there are pros and cons of each. Taking Uber Eats vs. Deliveroo as an example, UberEats delivers until a later time whilst Deliveroo is perceived to have better quality food. Uber Eats may feature mostly for junk food but has a better app design and allows more pictures.
In sum, there is no right or wrong answer, but it is worth comparing the big players and deciding what would be the best fit for your brand.
If you would like to find out more about the topics discussed in this blog, or need strategic, operational or innovation support when pivoting your brand, get in-touch with a dedicated member of our team today.