With Illinois’ recent decision to temporarily close bars and restaurants to sit-down patrons to help avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus, one way that restaurants can still operate is through carryout or delivery service. During this interval, initiating a new carryout or delivery program at your bar or restaurant can help keep your revenue up. Please note that you should confirm whether there are any required municipal licenses or permits needed to offer this type of service.
Keep ordering easy
While it may be beneficial to partner with carryout or delivery services like Grubhub or Uber Eats, you can also keep things low-tech and have customers call in to place their order. Be sure your phone number is easily located on your website or social media, and make sure there is always an employee manning the phone lines and ready to take an order. If you are choosing to do your carryout ordering through a third-party application, make sure someone is monitoring the online orders, as well as the phone lines.
Try to make the ordering process as simple as possible and be sure to double-check each order with the customer before hanging up the phone. Nothing can make a carryout experience go sour like a customer receiving the wrong food item or having part of their order missing entirely.
Create a mindful menu
While you may want to showcase everything from your dine-in menu on your carryout menu, that is not always the best idea. Not all food choices are able to be transported easily to the customer’s home, and that is something you strongly need to consider. Of course, as long as you are mindful about how you are packaging your food for takeout or delivery, and aware of any limitations you may run into, there are creative ways around your problems. For example, while it may be difficult to package your famous fish tacos without them falling apart, separating each component of the taco will make it much easier to package. The customer will have to put some effort into building the tacos themselves, but many customers will actually enjoy the do-it-yourself aspect.
Maintain food safety
Be sure to hold food at safe temperatures until customers are able to pick it up from your restaurant. In addition, try to keep hot foods away from cold foods for as long as possible. Be sure to use sturdy and durable containers when packaging your food in order to prevent leaking or breaking. The last thing a customer wants is for a container of hot soup to leak all over their car.
Advertise your carryout capabilities
This is the most important tip we can offer you. If you are a restaurant that already had a carryout initiative, make sure to reiterate to your customers that you are open for carryout business during this closure. If you are new to the carryout industry, be sure to heavily advertise your new carryout menu to your customers on your social media sites or through other means. Keep track of all contact information for customers who order online or by phone. You can market directly to these customers when it comes to carryout specials or updates.
Check out more tips for creating a successful carryout service from the National Restaurant Association.