COVID-19 has brought about an explosion in off-premise dining – more specifically delivery – for almost all restaurants. While it’s true that delivery orders had been steadily climbing for years, the current crisis saw it go from being a secondary source of income to one of the main sources of revenue for many establishments.
“The big shift now is that delivery must become the major profit center for businesses because of both safety concerns and consumer preferences,” says Derek Williamson, CEO of HigherMe.
Eating-in is out of the question for the time being and the idea of food being brought to their door has become a lot more enticing for people suffering from kitchen fatigue after finding themselves in the unprecedented situation of having to plan, prepare and cook three meals per day.
Third-parties are not the easy solution they seem to be:
When talking delivery, most managers will consider third-party apps as their first option. After all, third parties take care of responsibilities such as hiring staff, investing in vehicles, figuring out insurance and the overall headache of managing most of the delivery operation off your hands.
It sounds almost too good to be true and it usually is: services such as Grub Hub, Seamless or Doordash have been coming under fire for years because of the low quality of the services that they provide, their poor treatment of staff and the hefty fees they charge both restaurants and customers alike. Would you want your establishment to be associated with a service known for careless employees and making your customers’ orders inordinately expensive?
Also, considering that delivery orders were making up to a quarter of restaurants’ revenue pre-COVID, leaving half the work on those orders up to a company and an individual that have no real personal investment in your business may be a very risky bet, especially now that delivery is more vital than ever.
If you care about your business’s reputation and your customers’ experience with your product, hiring in-house delivery staff may be a very sensible step towards making sure those two elements are well taken care of. Having your own delivery drivers means that you’ll know who’s coming into your restaurant and exactly whose hands are handling your products before they make it to your customer. They will be employees whom you’ve interviewed, background checked and that, most importantly, are accountable to you.
Read on below on to find out what we believe are the most significant benefits of having dedicated delivery staff.
The benefits of having in-house delivery drivers:
1. You get more control over customer experience
One of the main complaints about third-party delivery apps is that they can often represent a gamble in terms of quality of service. Deliveries that come in late or cold, less-than-friendly drivers and messy-looking food are some of the main characters in the delivery horror stories that often plague restaurants’ reviews.
And customers – a whopping 76% of them – will blame restaurants for any of the slip-ups, regardless of whether they are the actual culprit or not. This means that restaurants using third-party delivery apps are catching fire, hurting their reputation and potentially losing customers for a lot of things that are simply out of their control.
Having in-house delivery drivers will give you a lot more control over the short but extremely important customer-facing part of a delivery order. Your dedicated delivery person will not only be someone that you know will provide great service every time – they will also know how to handle your food items correctly and be able to help your customers with common questions or concerns.
It also just looks good. In the age of third-party delivery apps, seeing someone pull up in a car with a logo or wearing an establishment’s uniform sends your customers a message that you care about their experience with your products, regardless of where it takes place.
2. Improved sales and customer loyalty
With more control over your restaurant’s delivery experience comes consistency and if customers know that they can expect consistency from you, they are likelier to order again.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents for a survey conducted by Off-Premise Insights stated that they regularly get delivery from the same restaurants and that – outside of price and food quality- timely deliveries and the ability to easily place repeat orders were major deciding factors in a restaurant becoming their preferred source for delivery.
People are ordering delivery for convenience, after all. If a customer knows that they will get warm food that hasn’t spilled out of its container on time from your restaurant, they will keep ordering from you.
3. In-house delivery staff can be cross-trained to do other tasks
Even though you’ll be hiring someone as a delivery driver this doesn’t mean that this is all that they have to do. Your delivery staff can be cross-trained to help out in other areas and support the rest of your team. There will be times during their shift in which they may not have any deliveries to make or complete days in which delivery orders tend to be slower. When this happens, these team members can help out with smaller tasks such as cleaning, organizing, or filling drink orders.
4. You may end up saving a lot of money
Although some managers may be wary of the idea of having in-house delivery drivers and the costs that come with it, the combination of improved customer experience with better sales and fewer headaches for you and your staff to deal with may just be worth the extra expense.
Then, there’s all the charges from third-party apps: these companies tend to charge some pretty steep fees – which can range anywhere between 20% – 30% of the total cost of an order – to both businesses and customers while offering little value to them asides from getting food from point A to point B.
Ask most restaurants who have moved into having in-house delivery drivers why they decided to make the switch and the first thing that they’ll cite are the astronomical fees that Caviar, Grubhub, Seamless, Doordash and other third-party delivery services were charging them for their services.
Making the decision:
While the upfront costs of in-house delivery drivers and all of the extras that come with it such as vehicles or insurance can be a bit intimidating upon first impression, considering the mounting costs of payments to third parties that your business will accrue over time plus the added benefits of improved sales and customer loyalty may help shed light on whether this will a smart investment for your business.
To help you out in the hiring process, HigherMe has a selection of tools that will make finding an experienced and reliable driver much easier and quicker. Our Fitscore feature will allow you to select the candidates that will best fit your needs by giving each one a score based on their answers to questions regarding distance from the workplace, schedule availability and answers to customizable questions. We have also partnered with Checkr to provide you with seamless background screening solutions so you can see a candidate’s driving records all within our platform.