Our culture is making a swing back to the tradition of dinner at home, with a modern twist – dinner is from a restaurant. Here are 5 ways to capitalize on the in-home dining trend.
1 – Get in the Virtual Food Court.
Partner up with one or more restaurant delivery services to access thousands more potential customers ready to place an order. These digital partners typically charge a 10 percent to 20 percent commission on the sale. When you discuss the parameters of the contract with the third-party, be clear on exactly what services the vendor will provide. Many companies serve primarily as the ordering hub, leaving your
restaurant to not only fulfill the order, but deliver it, also.
Here are some specs on two popular ordering sites:
GrubHub – owns and operate several distinct brands – GrubHub, Seamless, MenuPages, DiningIn and Allmenus. Combined, the sites process approximately 174,000 orders per day. The service is free to customers who browse your restaurant’s take-out/delivery menu on the GrubHub sites and place their order. The GrubHub system then sends the order to your restaurant for fulfillment and delivery. GrubHub does offer delivery in select markets. Be sure to ask for specifics.
EatStreet – serves more than 15,000 restaurants in about 150 markets nationwide. In addition to online and mobile ordering, they offer custom websites and social media integration as part of the services they provide to restaurants. EatStreet also has a rewards program for diners that provides exclusive specials and coupons to users of the site.
2 – Put Thought into Your Take-out Area
Walk into your restaurant as if you’re a take-out order customer. Can you easily find the take-out area? Do you have a separate counter or parking area for take-out guests? If space is tight, you might use the end of the bar, but be sure it’s clearly marked as the food pick-up area. Proper signage is key.
3 – Put Thought into the Menu
This is especially true if you’re partnering with an online ordering service. Ensure your menu is easy-to-read and clearly describes your dishes, but keep it brief. You don’t necessarily need to include your entire in-house menu for delivery. If a customer asks for a specific dish you serve, handle those as special orders, otherwise, only include food choices that can be transported safely and easily. Try to feature variety and affordable price points.
4 – Be Sure You Can Deliver
Increasing your take-out sales provides you the opportunity to increase your in-store sales IF you provide customers with a quality home dining experience. If you forget to pack the dressing with the salads or fail to shrink wrap soup containers to avoid spills, you might decrease the chances that your take-out guests will dine with you in your restaurant.
Train staff to double-check orders for accuracy after production and to go over the ticket with the customer if it’s a pick-up order. Also, remember to include a printed take-out menu with the order, especially on ones delivered to online customers. If the diner calls you directly next time, you’ll save the commission.
Also, if you’re working with a third-party ordering hub that provides you with home delivery orders, ensure you have adequate staff to handle peak times (sporting events, weekends, etc.).
5 – Packaging Counts
Your take-out packaging needs to hold up from your restaurant kitchen to the point of delivery. Containers should resist breaks and leaks. Also, consider packaging that allows for reheating and include reheating instructions. Consumers, especially Millennials, will want to know if the packaging is make with recycled or sustainable products, such as plant starch. As a Challenger Brand, you should take the opportunity to imprint your personality on every consumer-facing product available and this includes take-out containers.
The in-home dining trend gives Challenger Brands a great marketing opportunity. Be sure to track online orders and maintain contact database to market directly to these customers with not only take-out promotions but occasional in-store dining offers, also.