As the pandemic continues, the restaurant industry is, of course, not back to business as usual. Although many establishments have been allowed to open for on-premise dining, limitations that support social distancing have meant that customers have looked to delivery, takeout, curbside, and drive-thru to fill the gap, among other creative solutions.
But the increase in off-premise dining isn’t a fast trend that will go away, the data shows. Off-premise sales were already growing four times faster than dine-in before the pandemic. Going forward, the restaurant landscape will likely continue to look different than it did before 2020. That means if you’re a restaurant owner, now is the time to up your delivery game; the best way to accomplish that is to reduce your reliance on third-party apps by launching in-house delivery.
Benefits of Doing Your Own Delivery
At the beginning of the pandemic, many restaurants with limited or no delivery capabilities had no other choice than to employ third-party delivery services to get food and beverages to their customers. While they may have seemed like a good option at the time, the exorbitant commission fees, often around 30 percent or more, would often eat away at any possibility of making a profit. Bringing delivery in-house eliminates the middleman and therefore allows you to keep much more of your hard-earned money.
Not only does keeping delivery close to home increase your margin, but it also allows you to have better control over food quality and the entire customer experience. Customers who receive a late order or get food that has been temperature abused often resort to blaming the restaurant, not the delivery service. By maintaining control of the journey from the kitchen to the destination, restaurant owners can ensure a safe and positive experience for their customers.
Customer experience is the key factor that will foster brand loyalty and keep people coming back time and again — regardless of what is going on in the world. Even if required to stay home and self-quarantine, delivery of a favorite food or knowing that you’re supporting a favorite local business can make things feel a little more like normal.
Tips For Bringing Delivery In-House
Managing the day-to-day operations of a restaurant business is already challenging, so trying to add delivery to your list of responsibilities may seem overwhelming. However, the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it all at once. You can start by evaluating your menu and selecting a handful of your most popular items that travel well. Paring down your menu and creating one specifically for delivery will help reduce complexity and set your delivery efforts up for success.
Next, hire a couple of drivers — or bring back waiters, bartenders of bar-backs that you may have had to lay off after the pandemic hit — and ask them do what they do best–customer service; this time, it’s just on the road. You don’t have to have an entire fleet up and running at the start, but make sure to keep a close eye on how it grows so you can be prepared to meet demand.
Finally, get the word out about your delivery offerings in whatever way possible. Publish it on social media, send emails to your subscriber list, and hand out fliers to your in-house diners. Creating awareness and staying top of mind is how you ensure that the next time someone wants a meal delivered to their home or business, they think of you.
Bring Delivery In House With GetSwift
The prospect of launching in-house delivery, including hiring your own drivers, can be daunting. But getting started is actually much faster and much easier than you think. Your team will be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly — just listen to our customers — and the rewards of going in-house, for your culture, morale, and bottom line, are too big to pass up. Interested in getting started with a free one-month trial? Contact a member of our team today to learn how we can help.
You may have many locations–whether it’s a group of Italian restaurants, Jewish delis, or roti shops–under your brand and want to be able to use your drivers among all of them. Previously, you just weren’t able to. Now, with the introduction of Fleets, you can do so, simply, with lots of new flexibility. It is a great new way to make your delivery operation more efficient.
Here’s what’s new and what stays the same on your GetSwift platform.
You will now easily have the ability to group your “merchants” (meaning your stores or individual locations) together in order to share your drivers. Said another way, you now have the option of pairing multiple merchants with a group of drivers.
The new Fleets section of your dashboard is simple to follow. When you first login, we have automatically created a “Fleet” for you, based on your merchant’s name. If you want to start pooling your drivers, all you do is add more merchants to that fleet. Then, you can easily edit the drivers in that fleet!
Here’s another key advantage of this new section: You will be able to create multiple merchants within your organization, and be able to standardize the settings across those merchants.
You Can: Create New Fleets and Transfer Drivers
You now have lots of different ways to take advantage of sharing drivers among merchants. You can create a whole new fleet of drivers, transfer drivers between merchants, and even create a whole new merchant and driver group.
What Stays The Same: Managing Your Drivers
All the ways you managed drivers in the past still remains unchanged. All of your “Manage Driver” actions will now easily take place in this one centralized dashboard.
Right here, you’ll manage your driver settings. You can invite new drivers to join the GetSwift app and approve, revoke, or reactivate a driver. If you have specific requirements for each driver, you can edit all those details. That means you can edit vehicle capacity (the number of deliveries they can carry at once) and add a driver match code, which automatically assigns a driver to a specific job.
Important Note: Here is where you can also create your Driver Declarations, a.k.a. the items that a driver has to check off before starting work. Including, in the era of Covid-19, you can ask that they’re following your company’s new safety guidelines.
Support for Fleets
In sum, our new feature, Fleets, is THE place to organize your drivers.
Live tracking and proof of delivery have elevated customer service at the game-room furnishings retail company.
Billiard Factory IT Director Ken Santoro says GetSwift was the “final piece” to help them perfect delivery.
About a year ago, Billiard Factory, which delivers game-room furniture from 10 stores across Texas, Nevada, and Florida, was running on manual. Prior to starting a delivery, drivers would have to make phone calls to customers to let them know when their deliveries were scheduled to arrive. After the delivery, drivers would have to jot down any problems (like a scratch on a pool table) on a paper receipt that would sit in a truck all day and not be seen be a dispatcher until the following day.
All this manual work led to all sorts of potential for mistakes—before and after delivery. Some drivers would occasionally forget to call (meaning they could show up unannounced with a pool table in-hand) and others weren’t very comfortable talking on the phone. After a delivery, Billiard Factory had very little immediate visibility of any problems or customer complaints.
But Billiard Factory has now conquered these problems with GetSwift’s driver and customer apps. Before a job, a text message gets automatically sent to customers giving them a live tracking link and an ETA, allowing them to plan their day around the delivery. After the job is complete, drivers are automatically asked to fill out proof of delivery in the GetSwift app—with room for photos, a signature, and notes. This data is immediately seen by dispatch.
“Now, we get instantaneous feedback not only with notes but with pictures,” Ken Santoro, the IT Director at Billiard Factory, said. “We can take action on those issues before the driver gets down the street.”
“We get back to the customer before they even have a chance to call us or write a bad review,” Santoro said.
The big benefits of the app: Visibility and Automation
Driver Patrick Disney on the GetSwift app
For one of Billiard Factory’s most senior installers, Patrick Disney, and his colleagues, the app has been a game-changer. Now, with the click of a button saying he is on his way, the customers he serves get a live ETA. He also clicks when he’s at the job (to let dispatch know) and when it’s completed. If you’re counting, that’s only three times that he interacts with the app during an entire delivery.
“It’s a very simple process. I can’t really complain about the little bit that I have to do,” Disney said.
But the biggest benefit he’s seen is how much the automated alerts and live tracking help customers plan their day.
Disney told the story of a customer with a beach house an hour-and-a-half from Houston, where she was at the time. “By getting her that automatically-sent GetSwift text, she was able to drop a few things, head out to the beach early, and meet us at almost the exact same time that we arrived,” he said.
“They love knowing where the drivers are at,” Santoro added. Since using the app, “customer satisfaction is way up.”
While it doesn’t happen often, something can go awry –like a driver makes a mistake or a foosball table arrives damaged—customers end up happy because the problem is immediately addressed.
“While we can see some customers are disappointed that the product came in damaged or there was a scratch, a driver will still get a 5-star review. A lot of that has to do with the driver’s know-how but a lot has to do with transparency,” Santoro said.
Using GetSwift To Elevate Their Game
Now that they have so much more transparency into their delivery operation, Santoro sees endless possibilities.
First, sales reps—who also have access to the GetSwift data—can manage all their sales cycles more effectively. The day after delivery, they can make follow-up calls armed with the photos and notes from the day before. Second, Billiard Factory can start turning installation data into business intelligence: When they know exactly how long each piece of furniture takes to install, they can plan accordingly.
Most importantly, GetSwift has helped Santoro with his #1 IT initiative: wowing customers.
“GetSwift brings transparency to our deliveries and takes our game to the next level. It’s the final piece when it comes to perfecting delivery and wowing our customers,” Santoro said.
To learn more about how GetSwift’s smart delivery platform can elevate your business,Get in touch with us.