How Restaurants Can Transition to Takeout or Delivery

Adding takeout or delivery into your operations can be challenging any time. If your restaurant is now takeout or delivery only due to COVID-19, here’s what you should consider.

Set Up Delivery and Takeout Area in Your Restaurant

If you’re not currently doing delivery or takeout, your kitchen probably isn’t set up to accommodate it. Designate a specific area of your kitchen to handle takeout or delivery orders, including your POS system, so you know what orders are coming in anytime.

For the front of the house, set up a separate counter or area of your parking lot for takeout customers so they know where to go. This should be properly marked and easy to access, especially if they’ve prepaid online. This can be right inside your restaurant or you can try curbside pickup with a table outside your restaurant. Here’s a great example:

If there’s not enough space naturally in your restaurant, use a part of your bar or hostess stand and be sure to train your staff to know how to handle takeout orders coming through.

Adapt Your Menu

You may love your signature poutine or tomato soup, but neither of those options hold up particularly well while driving for long periods of time. Take a look at your menu and determine what items will stay well and at temperature, or create a completely new menu suited for delivery and takeout.

This is a great opportunity to ask your customers, especially anyone calling to order takeout, what they want to see on the menu and how far away they are from your restaurant. You’ll need to balance your signature dishes with what’s practical in your logistics.

Want to add your menu to your Tripadvisor listing? Click here.

Determine if You Want to Use Third-Party Delivery

Most major delivery companies have waived their fees, so it’s a great opportunity to be in as many places as you can. Sign up for any services in your area to get to the most customers possible — just keep track of which ones you sign up for so you can watch for when fees return.

Consider hiring any front of house staff that won’t be able to work while your restaurant is closed as delivery drivers if you’re running your own delivery system.

Update Your Technology

Many restaurant POS systems already have a delivery or takeout option so you can track your online orders, delivery status, and any customer data within one system. Evaluate what you’re already using in your restaurant to see if that’s an option as you add-on takeout or delivery.

Then, consider routing systems or walkie-talkies for your drivers, if you’re not using a third-party system so you can optimize where they’re going and what they’re doing.

Figure Out the Best Ways to Get Food to Customers

The trickiest part of delivery is determining how to best get your food to your customers. Customers know the experience won’t be exactly the same as sitting down to your restaurant, but the food should be the appropriate temperature and taste just as good.

You’ll want to think about:

  • Delivery routes to minimize time to customer, if you’re doing your own delivery
  • Sturdy packaging that prevents leaks and keeps food warm or cold while in transit
  • How to label your packaging so your delivery drivers know where each item goes
  • What to include in your packages, like utensils, napkins, or additional sauces
  • Setting up designated pick up locations if someone is ordering outside of your traditional delivery route

Finally, do your best to facilitate “contact-free” delivery, either through your own system or using a third-party option. This involves having the driver call or text the recipient to let them know that food is on their doorstep, rather than knocking on their door.

Help Stock Your Customer’s Freezers

Your customers are looking for comfort right now and they want to help your business. Offer to stock their fridges and freezers with ready-made meals or ingredients as part of your pivot to delivery and takeout. Treat it like a catering order with plenty of freezer-ready packaging.

Communicate With Your Customers

If you’ve added a takeout or delivery option, let your customers know on social media, through email, or on your listings around the web. Share your menu and any specific takeout or delivery instructions to encourage your customers to order from you.

How to Add Delivery and Takeout to Your Tripadvisor Listing

If your restaurant is using delivery with a third-party service like Deliveroo, DoorDash, and Seamless, it will appear automatically on your Tripadvisor page. Check with your third-party provider on when it will appear on your page. It looks like this:

Major delivery partners like Grubhub have waived their delivery fees, so if you haven’t already signed up for a third-party service, you can do so without worrying about your bottom line for the time being. Ask your current provider if they work with Tripadvisor to get started.

If you’re not using a third-party provider but you include takeout or delivery, you can add those options in the “Amenities” section of your listing. Read our full how-to here.

If Your Restaurant is Only Takeout or Delivery

If you’re moving to takeout or delivery only due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, you can add a notification to your listing. To do so, log in to the Management Center and:

  1. Select “Manage Listing” in the navigation bar at the top of the page and choose “Hours.”
  2. Switch the toggle for “My restaurant is takeout or delivery only” at the top of the page.
  3. Enter the dates for which your restaurant will be takeout or delivery only if you know them.

A message will appear on your profile within the next 24 hours. For additional resources to respond to COVID-19, click here.

Need to get the word out? Download our free printables you can use to advertise your takeout and delivery operations on email, social media, and hanging in your window.

Log in to add takeout and delivery options

Log in to add takeout and delivery options

Last Updated: 16 March 2020
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