Patrons of fine-dining restaurants appreciate convenience, too

Far too many upscale restaurants look down upon the idea of offering their food for delivery, citing their first-class restaurant experience as the king of customer satisfaction. But are you ready for the truth?

For many patrons, convenience far outranks the in-person dining experience. People are busy and tired, and they value the ability to have delicious food delivered to their door. It’s time to bring your restaurant onboard.

A Win-Win for Customers and Owners

Offering delivery brings two powerful elements to your restaurant image: It sends the message that you understand your guests and the importance of convenience, and it shows your confidence that your brand can handle major exposure to tens of thousands of online guests looking to eat well.

When people feel like delivery, they won’t go out—no matter how good your award-winning dish is. Embracing delivery as part of your restaurant organization means you’re catering to patrons who would otherwise not eat at your restaurant, especially when it’s snowing or raining. If you’re not offering delivery, there’s no question that the guest will choose another restaurant simply because it delivers and you don’t—even if your food is better!

Think of offering delivery as the online equivalent of foot traffic. These are people who will click, find, read, or be intrigued by your online presence. Having a strong online presence also means having an easy way to order delivery online. Even if guests don’t order from you directly, offering delivery will get your menu, your story, your brand, and your food in front of a far larger audience than if you limited your restaurant to the dining-in experience.

5 Delivery Dos and Don’ts for Restaurants

If you’re a top-rated restaurant partnered with a top-rated delivery service, it is entirely possible to marry excellent food with equally outstanding delivery service. Delivery doesn’t make your food “greasy takeout.” Bad delivery does. So take hold of these dos and don’ts to give your food the advantage of a first-class delivery experience.

1. DO use insulated, temperature-specific delivery bags.

Delivery food should taste as fresh as it would if it were served in the restaurant. No matter how carefully you cook it, the food you deliver only becomes soggy, cold, and altogether unappetizing when the delivery service uses the wrong bags (or no bags!) for transport. There’s no excuse for this, and it’s easily avoidable if you invest in insulated, temperature-specific delivery bags.

2. DO use top-notch delivery containers and packaging.

The same rule applies to your delivery containers and packaging. Avoid cheap Styrofoam containers that may impart unwanted flavors. Aside from being unfriendly to the environment, Styrofoam containers are also more prone to spillage and leaks — one of those automatic “dead on arrival” delivery issues that are almost impossible to recover from. Your food deserves better. Spend more on high-quality, eco-friendly packaging. The food will stay hotter, fresher, and most importantly, will be more enjoyable to guests when it arrives at their door.

3. DON’T mix cold items with hot items.

Never mix cold items, such as desserts and salads, with hot items (entrées and soups). No guest wants a crisp iceberg salad to turn into a warm, soggy mess or ice cream to become milk soup. Combining both cold and hot items in one delivery bag is laziness. Certain dishes need to be served at a specific temperature—just like in the restaurant.

4. DO deliver to the door, no questions asked.

Carriers should bring the order “door to door,” from the restaurant’s kitchen to the patron’s front door. There’s no excuse not to. It doesn’t matter if the street is busy or whether it’s Newbury Street in Boston or Midtown Manhattan—leaving the food with the doorman or calling the patron to come downstairs to pick it up is unacceptable. Anything you do that takes away from the convenience of ordering in, including asking guests to meet the delivery driver downstairs, jeopardizes the beauty of the delivery experience and threatens the very reason they ordered in the first place.

5. DON’T let drivers call patrons for instructions.

FedEx doesn’t call to ask how to get to your address to deliver a package, does it? The same thing applies to a food delivery service. Can’t find the street? Call your dispatcher. Lost? Call your dispatcher. Patron not answering the door? Call your dispatcher.

Calling the guests for instructions is an entirely avoidable nuisance that detracts from the delivery experience. The food should just get to the door—no calls, no problems.

Bringing the delivery experience to your full-scale restaurant means you “get it.” You understand that sometimes there’s hardly enough time in the day to eat, let alone prepare a top-quality meal. It also shows a real understanding that guests should be able to enjoy quality food in the comfort of their own home. And a combination of your restaurant’s top-notch food and the best possible delivery experience? That’s a value offering that can’t be topped.

The opinions of contributors are their own. Publication of their writing does not imply endorsement by FSR magazine or Journalistic Inc.

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