Best Practices for Top-Notch Takeout, Curbside and Delivery

Friday, April 02, 2021

When a diner sits down for a meal, there are plenty of opportunities to create an exceptional experience or correct the occasional mistake. Restaurateurs don’t have that luxury with takeout, curbside and delivery orders.

Keeping customers happy is critical, no matter how you’re serving them. However, positioning your business as the go‐to establishment for takeout and delivery requires a different approach than on‐site dining. Pay close attention to your online presence, order management processes and safety standards.

Optimized Menus

An easy‐to‐navigate, mobile‐friendly online menu goes a long way for most customers. Along with brief item descriptions, add‐on and customization options help customers order their meal the same way they would if they were dining in your space. À la carte sides can also give guests a broader selection to choose from and have been shown to increase overall sales. And don’t forget to keep your menu updated, always highlighting popular items and meals that adhere to common dietary restrictions.

Order Management

A robust point‐of‐sale is a must‐have for restaurants looking to offer delivery services. Heartland Restaurant integrates with delivery platforms like Grubhub and DoorDash, so you can serve more customers in more locations. If you’re looking to start your own program, Restaurant also offers cloud‐based tools to help you get started.

The benefits of investing in technology to cut down on order times and maximize efficiency often outweigh the hidden costs of doing the work manually.

Online Ordering

There’s nothing worse than a hangry customer on the phone who doesn’t have what they ordered. With Heartland Restaurant, online orders are sent right to the point of sale, so double‐checking an order’s accuracy before it goes out the door is easy. No more handwritten to‐go orders. No more headaches.

Health and Safety Protocols

Lax standards won’t do just because customer visits are short. The Food and Drug Administration offers a comprehensive webpage covering best practices for cleanliness and food safety. You can also download free flyers and infographics from the site.

 

Many of the protocols are the same for takeout and delivery, such as frequent hand washing, wearing masks, following proper food handling standards, etc. Some of the top areas to watch are different for each service method.

Takeout

  • Designate pickup zones to help customers maintain social distancing.

  • Discourage pets — excluding service animals — from entering stores and waiting areas.

  • Clean and disinfect high‐touch surfaces more frequently (e.g., doors, checkout counters, point‐of‐sale equipment and seating areas).

Delivery

  • Seal bags and beverages shut while ensuring that any wrapping and packaging used for food transport prevents contamination.

  • Heartland Restaurant “no‐touch deliveries” — sending text alerts or calling when orders have arrived.

  • Increase the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing coolers and insulated food bags.

And it’s no surprise that many diners are shifting away from cash and are turning to contactless payments. Cloud‐based point‐of‐sale systems like Restaurant make it easy for your customers to pay how they want, whether it’s with a chip card or their smartphone. And with Restaurant’s Guest App, guests can order, pay and earn rewards right from their smartphone.

So even when diners can’t enjoy the ambiance of your space, you can still create an exceptional experience and warm feelings they’ve come to expect.