With new virtual concepts popping up every day, the odds are that your local food delivery market is getting more competitive. With customers having no shortage of choices when it comes to ordering meals online, achieving or exceeding a customer's scheduled food delivery time is crucial to building repeat customers.
The challenge for restaurants is to do this consistently with each and every order without impacting the quality of food or order accuracy. Will break down the ordering process from the initial order to the delivery itself and identify some easy process changes you can implement to optimize your 3rd party delivery orders.
Phase 1 - Accepting Orders
The timer starts the moment a customer places an order - Getting this early phase of the order correct can make or break a restaurant's entire delivery cycle and is the most common phase mistakes are made. If your restaurant is still relying on manually transferring orders from delivery tablets into your POS system you are asking for order delays and errors.
Too often online orders received on delivery tablets go temporarily unnoticed by a restaurant's staff that is focusing its efforts on in-house guests. If drivers are routinely arriving before your online orders are ready, this delay in accepting and routing the orders into your kitchen can also lead to reduced rankings on your 3rd party delivery platforms being utilized, thus reducing your overall delivery order volume over time.
Beyond unnecessary delays in processing the order, using delivery tablets also requires your staff to manually transcribe orders received into your POS system, which on average results in errors in about 10-15% of all orders received.
Phase 2 - Ticket management & order preparation
Issues on the Kitchen Order Ticket (KOT) or unclear instructions given to the chef can interrupt the processing of an order - If these kinds of issues occur frequently it can significantly reduce the overall effectiveness of your kitchen.
- Lack Of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Restaurant operators need to clearly define the standard operating procedures for their teams. Your staff needs to know what steps should be completed from the time an order arrives until it is delivered. Each step must be clearly defined, well documented, and understood by your entire staff to maintain efficient delivery operations.
- Effective ticket management in the kitchen
On average, roughly half of the time spent on a delivery order is typically in the preparation of the meal itself. Simply making sure that the chef or the kitchen team receives the order in real-time without delay and in a consistent easy-to-comprehend format can eliminate many order preparation issues. Later on, will cover how this can be easily accomplished at scale.
- Speed is important, consistency gets you there
The KOT gives insight into the progress of each order in the system. While it's true that overall speed is the goal with online orders, it is crucial to understand that consistency and accuracy, not speed, should be your team's primary focus. Creating reliable repeatable processes and ensuring proper training will often get you to your speed goals over time vs focusing on speed alone which would likely lead to order errors.
Make sure to train your staff is trained to double-check all orders received to ensure that modifiers and special instructions are not missed, as after all, a customer is more likely to forgive a slight delivery delay than they would for receiving an incorrect order.
- Clear communication with delivery drivers
For efficient delivery services, try communicating with your order delivery drivers to make sure that they are on the same page. If an order is delayed and will be late, let them know ahead of time before they arrive and are impatiently waiting in your lobby. An efficient way to communicate with drivers is through text to give them brief updates on the order status.
Phase 3 - Adjust digital menus and food preparation around delivery
Odds are that not everything in your standard in-house menu will not transport well and retain its quality until it arrives to your customer. Modifying your digital menus around delivery can increase your order volume and improve overall customer satisfaction. Check out this article to learn how to optimize your digital menus and food preparation around delivery.
Solution - How to optimize your delivery operations & reduce delivery times
Now that we understand the primary delivery phases and each phase's unique challenges, it is time to take appropriate measures to overcome these issues. Below are a few tips restaurants and ghost kitchens should consider implementing to simplify their food delivery operations and reduce their overall delivery times.
Most delivery challenges that restaurants face can be easily solved by using cost-effective technology solutions available to automate the order acceptance and routing process. Using a food delivery app aggregator like ItsaCheckmate eliminates delivery tablets and the need for your staff to manually accept and transfer orders into your POS.
When a customer creates an online to-go or 3rd party delivery order it will be automatically accepted and routed into your kitchen in real-time, which completely eliminates all delays from phase 1, “accepting orders”. Because the order arrives in your standard ticket format just as if your staff had processed the order themselves - All issues around manual order entry, ticket inconsistencies, and order-to-KOT delays are solved for from phase 2, “ticket management and order preparation”.
ItsaCheckmate allows a restaurant's existing POS system to automatically accept & route orders from 100+ ordering platforms directly into their kitchen. ItsaCheckmate provides POS integration, simplifies digital menu management, and makes accounting reconciliation with your 3rd party delivery platforms easy.