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Blog at Chefify

The Pros and Cons of Offering a Takeaway and Delivery Service for your Restaurant

Jul 25 2019 - 10:00am
We do takeaway! may be a controversial statement to commit to for some restaurants. And not without good reason. You don't want to isolate yourself from the growing number of customers who prefer to dine from the comfort of their own homes, but you may also fear that branding yourself as a "takeaway" dims some of the sparkles from your fine dining service.

We've taken a look at the pros and cons of offering a takeaway and delivery service from your restaurant and discussed them in this blog post. Hopefully, you'll have a better sense of whether this is the right step up for you. 

The pros

Modern consumers are working irregular and unpredictable work hours, meaning that their ability to commit to formal dining appointments is affected by numerous factors such as time, location and energy levels. This does not, however, alter their desire to eat their favourite food. By having a takeaway and delivery option, your restaurant is able to cater to the needs of the fans who simply love your food but cannot physically make it to your venue. 

Naturally, your physical location will have a space and seating restriction. During busy hours, visitors may put off by the queue and waiting times for seating. If, however, you offer a delivery service, customers can schedule their orders and wait for their dinner with minimal agitation. 

With the help of digital tools such as food ordering applications, it's never been easier to set up a takeaway service. In addition, technology minimises the chances of the wrong order being sent out as the customer is solely responsible for selecting and inputting their desired meal. 

The "Netflix and chill" generation is all about convenience and comfort, but they're still willing to pay for their favourite meals. In a survey, 65% of restaurant delivery users showed a preference for eating in than the more formal dining out scenario. This trend is not likely to change, so make sure you tap into it. 

Depending on how far you are willing to go with your takeout and delivery venture, you may find that your operational costs decrease. If you're struggling with low footfall yet find that customers are quite happy to have your food delivered directly to their homes, you can look at downsizing your physical location or converting entirely to a commercial kitchen that functions with the aim of delivering food directly to customers as opposed to offering them a dine-in option. You will no longer have the same costs for premises and staffing, and you will be responding proactively to the expressed desires of your customers. 

The cons 

Not every dish lends itself to transport, unfortunately. While you may be able to roll out an exceptionally beautiful plate directly to your patrons table in a restaurant, things become slightly more precarious when that same dish has to take a journey in a vehicle or on a motorbike and be exposed to fluctuating temperatures and subjected to issues such as traffic - or corners - which may affect the standard of the food by the time of its delivery. 

The initial setup may be costly. If you're not equipped to provide this service you may have to purchase a suitable vehicle, hire a driver, pay a monthly fee to a third-party takeaway site including the other overheads that make up the overall cost of initiating your delivery service. 

Part of the reason why restaurants are able to add significant markup on the dishes they serve is the in-house dining experience. This is created through the ambience; the aesthetic of your physical space; the comprehensive service and presentation of the food, and the facilities you make available to your diners while they are at your venue. By taking that away, you will have to adjust your profit margins and this may a) not bode well for your reputation, b) not be the best financial option for you. 

You will require space to store extra packaging, and in some cases, you may need fairly unique packaging if the size and nature of your dishes necessitate this. 

If your physical restaurant is operating at full capacity, you may need to hire extra kitchen staff to accommodate the internal and external orders coming in. This is an extra strain on an already busy kitchen and a further cost, so be sure that you are able to accommodate this.  

Should you use a third party?

As previously mentioned, the digital realm has swiftly changed how people not only shop for personal items, gifts, clothing and groceries, but it has also changed the game when it comes to ordering food. Meals are now a click away, and the standard for efficiency has already been set quite high by successful third-party food ordering websites like Just-Eat.co.uk.  

When it comes to using these websites, Millenials and Generation Y consumers are comfortable and very au fait with the procedure. Making sure that your restaurant is conveniently accessible to diners on these platforms is key to your restaurant's takeaway success. 

Making use of a third-party service may, in some cases, relieve you of making any further financial commitments to sourcing your own delivery vehicles and drivers as this will already be taken care of by the third-party food delivery company that will utilise a network of resources in your area to ensure that dishes are collected from your restaurant and brought to the consumer's address. 

Partnering with a third-party delivery company will certainly help to get your new service on the map as they will use their already existing resources to boost your online visibility and also utilise familiar features such as repeat ordering and a built-up knowledge of the customer's preferences based on previous purchases. From a marketing perspective, these are all very favourable aspects. 

Ultimately, a lot of thought has to go into the decision of whether offering a takeaway and delivery service is the right feature to add to your restaurant's list of available services. The big drawcard is the ability to boost your sales and capitalise on customers who would prefer to eat outside of the formal restrictions of a restaurant. On the other hand, there are financial and logistical implications that may affect your return on investment. It's essential to do your research and seek expert advice from third-party delivery companies if necessary as well as conducting a close study of how similar restaurants to your own are faring in the game.

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