There are several essential questions that every restaurant chain needs to ask before starting their delivery operations. Does the food you sell travel well? Is it the type of food that people would order for takeout? Is there demand from your existing customers? Is your competition offering deliveries? Are you in a market with enough density to make deliveries an economically viable proposition?
My first recommendation is always to test for customer demand, starting on a very small scale. This is the quickest way to understand the viability of the delivery operation before making any grand plans for a delivery strategy. Start with a single store or a single region and enlist a third-party delivery partner on a trial basis. Promote delivery to customers in the area. Try different options to see which levers positively impact your delivery volume. Test different promotions and discounts to see their influence on your kitchen operations and your staff. Observe. Improve. It’s amazing what you will learn in a short amount of time.
Starting a delivery operation isn’t a simple feat, but it can bring a whole new level of success to your restaurant chain – a completely new revenue stream which serves new customers and delights existing ones. However, some big strategic and tactical questions arise when taking on this challenge. Based on my experience working with some of the biggest restaurant chains across the U.S., here are five of the most common challenges they face when it comes building and scaling their delivery operations.