Ensuring your delivery platform is up to scratch

Key points

  • From the online ordering process through to the meal delivery itself, you need to ensure your customer’s experience is simple and seamless
  • How easy is the customer’s experience when  placing their order, and are staff trained to communicate clearly and follow an appropriate procedure when taking orders?
  • Are you able to track deliveries, assess delivery driver performance and optimise delivery routes?
  • Is your food appropriately and securely packaged, and have you instituted a standard pick-up procedure for drivers?

With so much competition for the home delivery dollar right now, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your customers’ experience is a simple and seamless one – from the initial ordering process through to the food arriving at their premise. It’s not just the food but the quality of the overall experience that will make all the difference in ensuring customers continue to use your business for their order-in meal choices.

And make no mistake, home delivery is here to stay as a major profit centre  – even as we move towards a ‘new normal’ with the end of lockdowns now in sight. Roy Morgan Research says more than 5.5 million Australians (26.5 per cent) used meal delivery services last year, up from 3.9 million (19 per cent) in 2019 and 3.3 million (16.3 per cent) in 2018, and that lockdowns have been ‘supercharging’ the growth of the channel. According to IBISWorld, the food delivery services market is worth $847.9 million as of this year – and has grown faster than the Australian economy as a whole.

How does your delivery platform shape up in the following critical areas?

How simple is the customer’s experience when placing their order?

These days many customers prefer to order through a third party platform such as Uber Eats, Door Dash, Menulog and many others. But whichever platform/s you’re signed up to, you always need to ensure your menu is simple to access, read and select from.

As some customers may google your website to place their order, it makes sense to have an online order app integrated within your website and linked to your POS system.

And for those customers who still place their orders over the phone, you need to make sure that calls don’t go unattended or your number isn’t constantly engaged. You can avoid this problem by using cloud telephony – which enables customer calls to be seamlessly transferred to non-engaged additional phone numbers, and at the same time keeps a log of all incoming calls.

It’s also important to ensure that staff are trained to communicate clearly with customers and have a procedure to follow in taking down orders. This can help prevent one of the most common delivery-related problems: drivers being unable to find the delivery address. Make sure that staff read back the delivery address to the customer for confirmation and ask for corresponding information such as nearest cross street.

How trackable are your deliveries?

There are numerous delivery apps available to help track your delivery orders once they’ve been dispatched, which enable you to follow the entire delivery process and to assess driver performance while also optimising delivery routes, which not only saves on fuel costs but also cuts down delivery times. These apps typically identify the time of dispatch and how long the delivery takes.

By utilising these options you’ll know how efficiently your orders are being delivered to customers, and be able to identify the potential barriers that might result in customers not ordering again – such as meals arriving too late/cold or being delivered to the wrong address.

You can also provide customers with the opportunity to track their delivery via apps so they can see how long it’s likely to take.

Is the food appropriately and securely packaged?

Hot food needs to be delivered hot and hot food cold – which not only means ensuring food is sent out to delivery drivers promptly, but that it’s packaged appropriately. So look at insulated pizza bags and similar packaging. You can also use dry ice to keep drinks and desserts cold in esky-style foam packaging. Food should also be packaged so that it won’t spill or lose its presentation during the delivery process. And don’t forget to ensure napkins, plastic cutlery and condiments are included in the delivery as required.

In the current climate it’s also wise to utilise tamper-proof packaging to provide your customers with the reassurance that their meal has reached them in pristine condition.

You can also take the opportunity to utilise your packaging to promote your business and brand by featuring logo, phone number/website and any regular deals – as well as highlighting your ‘green credentials’ by drawing attention to your use of recycled/recyclable materials which your customers may appreciate.

Do you have a standardised pick-up procedure in place for delivery drivers?

Whether you’re using your own fleet of delivery drivers or outsourcing delivery to a third party order platform, it’s imperative that there’s a standardised procedure in place for delivery pick-ups. Drivers need to know where to pick up delivery orders and which staff member is responsible for them.

The staffer in charge of prepping orders for pick-up should be checking all orders prior to handover to the delivery driver and making sure that all condiments, beverage accompaniments such as soft drink cans/bottles, napkins and other add-ons have been packaged up and are ready to go.