For many food establishments, delivery orders can add 10 to 20 percent to overall sales totals. For pizza places, it’s typically more than half. So why not make it easy and pleasant for your customers? Ease of ordering and timely delivery can keep your current customers coming back and can entice new ones. Find ways to provide the outstanding service that your competitors are not offering.
You can set certain hours for delivery so you won’t need to have a delivery person available all the time. But those hours should be liberal, such as 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for dinner. Put these hours on all your menus and literature and post them in the restaurant. And if people call a few minutes before the cutoff time, don’t refuse their order if there’s any way you can get it to them. You can also offer free delivery with a minimum order total or delivery for just a nominal fee of a dollar or two. Remember, deliveries can result in extra business, so treat them like an ongoing promotion.
Encourage early ordering for lunch so you can plan ahead and get orders delivered on time. There will be some last-minute orders, so be prepared by getting the early ones ready to go and waiting. Make it easy for your customers to place their orders by phone, fax, or email. You can also start a list of fax or email addresses for frequent customers and send out daily specials in the early morning. Many of your business customers will wait for the message so they can decide what and where to get lunch. You’ll get orders you might otherwise not get, because you’ll remind customers about your establishment. If they want to stop receiving the faxes or email, just give them an easy way to get off the list.
Hire reliable and competent delivery people, because they are visiting your customers. Require their appearance to be clean and neat. Most businesses that get lunch deliveries give good tips, so your delivery people should make a fair amount if they get there on time and are courteous.
Any time a delivery is more than 10 minutes late or something is forgotten, offer some restitution right away—either a free meal or sandwich or perhaps free dessert on their next order. Fax or email the customer something he or she can use to remind you of this in case you forget. And keep those deliveries moving so you can make those extra dollars.