Facing mandatory closures and limited dining room capacities, many restaurants have had to pivot their business models to stay afloat. While delivery isn’t new to the foodservice industry, more eateries are offering the service during COVID-19 quarantine measures. And amid the pandemic, restaurants have been forced to get creative, offering new services like sanitary packaging and contactless delivery.
According to a survey by Datassential, 75% of restaurants and 55% of on-site operators are providing delivery and takeout during COVID-19. But it hasn’t been as simple as offering their menus to go. Many eateries have cut down their dishes to reduce inventory, streamline kitchen operations and promote more popular items.
CNN Business reports IHOP has trimmed its menu from 12 pages to two, keeping dishes that are the simplest to prepare. McDonald’s axed salads, bagels, yogurt parfaits and all-day breakfast from its menu. And restaurants are in no rush to bring back their full range of dishes. McDonald’s said it would bring back a handful of items this summer, but others will stay off the menu indefinitely.
Meanwhile, other restaurants are adding new dishes that make ordering delivery an easier task. Family meals are popular at quick service, full service and a variety of restaurants in between. Taco Bell put a new twist on Taco Tuesdays with a $25 At-Home Taco Kit, complete with tortillas and taco shells, beef, chips, cheese sauce and toppings. If diners are looking for something fancier, Ambar Clarendon in Arlington, Virginia, is offering a six-course menu featuring soup or salad, an entrée and vegetable, and dessert.
Restaurant owners have also had to grapple with how to get their new menus in front of potential customers. Datassential reports 96% allow customers to call the restaurant directly, while 47% have transitioned to online ordering via their websites, 19% are using their own apps and 47% are now utilizing third-party ordering apps.
Though working with third-party carriers like Uber Eats, Door Dash and Grubhub puts dishes in front of more diners, it comes at a cost. Fees charged for delivery have added up during the pandemic, eating into the extra sales they provide. That’s made takeout and curbside delivery a more popular option, reports the Wall Street Journal. In fact, 66% of restaurant operators told Datassential they plan to keep curbside pickup options once restrictions are lifted.
Whether an order has been placed for delivery or takeout, restaurant staff and delivery drivers are practicing safe, contactless delivery. That means orders are placed on customer’s doorsteps or car hoods.
Once a diner receives their food, restaurants have already taken additional steps to ensure their delivery or takeout order isn’t contaminated. Fifteen percent of restaurants told Datassential they have implanted new packaging that’s safer or easier to sanitize. Though COVID-19 can’t be transmitted through food or ingredients, it can be carried on packages. That’s why many eateries are transitioning from reusable materials to plastic bags and packaging as safer alternatives. Restaurant and delivery staff are also wearing masks and gloves to ensure food stays sanitary during drop-offs.
As consumers clamor for the convenience of food at their front (or car) doors, hospitality management software can help restaurants keep track of delivery orders. Craftable Analytics allows operators to easily keep tabs on service fees from third-party providers.
The platform also tracks inventory, reconciles invoices and manages other back-of-office tasks, easing the pains of running a restaurant during a pandemic.
Whether your business is focused on delivery, takeout or dine-in, Craftable tools can help improve your bottom line. Sign up for a free trial and keep your profits healthy.