If restaurants start now, they can build a strong foundation.
As we head into the winter months and the holidays are approaching, restaurants are going to be seeing a winter spike in food delivery orders. Most people are bundling up watching their favorite movie by the fire and clicking onto their preferred food delivery app to order comfort food to help keep them warm during the cold months. According to DoorDash, the holidays are great opportunities for restaurants to drive sales. Whether folks are looking to order their favorite Thanksgiving meal or celebrate Christmas by ordering their most beloved ham dinner, it’s vital that restaurant’s lean on their delivery services.
With an already busy period, only set to get busier, what can restaurants do to keep up their holiday spirit this year and maintain exploding demand?
Streamline menus based on winter trends & utilize data to optimize menus
Analyzing what types of food is typically ordered from your restaurant during the winter and holiday months is helpful so restaurants can be prepared with the right amount of ingredients and stock items. Examining the previous holiday seasons data is also beneficial to have specific dishes available that sell better in winter months compared to other seasons. This tactic helps cut down prep time while also being able to support restaurants to maximize their order volume. In addition to monitoring past data, don’t forget to check for real-time insights to track the most popular items sold right now. Looking at sales data is one of the best and fastest ways for restaurants to optimize and grow. Ultimately by looking at data such as the most ordered meal or reviews and feedback, restaurants can see what is working on their menu and what delivery strategies are going well or what they need to improve or pivot upon.
Don’t forget about social media
During the most joyful time of year, people are using social media more than ever since they are indoors staying warm from the cold, dreaming of delicious, and hot, food. It is imperative restaurants remain active on social media and engage with loyal customers. Restaurants should try sharing posts about current promotions, new menu items and important updates to the restaurant's hours or estimated delivery times. During this season, restaurants should lean on hashtags when posting to gain traction from consumers and encourage them to engage with the account whether it’s having them participate in a contest, hosting holiday inspired discounts, promoting holiday campaigns or spotlighting repeat customers. This could even be a great opportunity to highlight that rock star delivery driver that is always braving the cold.
As expected, the busiest times for restaurants usually come at mealtimes. Eateries need to be strategic and try to spread out orders into non-high-traffic time periods to help avoid delays. To manage timing of delivery orders, a few suggestions include:
- Run promotions based on the weather to encourage orders at slower times.
- Bring happy hour to the people by offering promotions on seasonal drinks for delivery, such as discounted mulled wine or hot toddies at off-peak times.
- Try a breakfast or teatime promotion to encourage food orders away from peak dinner and lunchtime rushes.
Upgrade your delivery operations
Every restaurant's goal is to get deliveries out as quickly and efficiently as possible (don’t forget accuracy, too!). Unfortunately, if one order gets messed up, it affects a restaurant's entire day or night of food deliveries. The last thing a restaurant wants is their delivery drivers or bikers having to go back in the cold winter weather (rain, sleet, snow) with a new order. The solution? Upgrading kitchen technology to optimize delivery operations for the longer term.
Looking into kitchen displays to help with a restaurant's production line and what needs to be handed off to delivery drivers is extremely helpful. In addition, investing in more storage capacity (cold and dry) can help with handling and storing more orders when needed. This ultimately allows restaurants to process more orders at peak times, saving restaurants time and money.
If restaurants start now, they can build a strong foundation for a successful winter strategy. By looking at data, utilizing social media, getting creative with promotions, and making sure delivery and kitchen staff is equipped with the right technology and tools, restaurants are bound to stay on top this holiday season. Regardless of season, its important restaurants are capitalizing on succeeding in their delivery services to continue to hone in on customer loyalty and to keep customers coming back for more.
As the CEO and co-founder of Deliverect, Zhong is integrating third-party food delivery platforms with restaurant POS systems, automating delivery so it can be managed more efficiently. Zhong, who obtained a M.Sc. degree in software engineering in 2009, created the first IPad POS in EMEA in 2012, together with co-founder Jan Hollez. This SaaS company evolved into the company that today is called Lightspeed, which is available in more than 100 countries around the world. Zhong was Global Director of Lightspeed Hospitality until 2018, when he founded Deliverect, thereby continuing to revolutionize the hospitality industry.