Guest Experience
June 27, 2024

Avoid These 7 Common Delivery Mistakes to Protect Your Restaurant Brand (and How to Solve Them)

Explore the top mistakes impacting restaurant delivery, and learn how to solve them to protect your brand experience.

Believe it or not, your delivery service can make or break your restaurant's reputation. While you may view it as a nice-to-have, consumers have come to expect it. And based on their experience with e-commerce brands, they expect the quality and service to be top notch. 

From how you manage your kitchen during peak hours to the way your brand interacts with customers, each step in the delivery process matters. Here’s a deeper look into the common mistakes that could be hurting your restaurant's delivery service – and your brand experience overall.

Mistake #1: Overwhelming Your Kitchen

More sales is always better, right? Except when they all happen at the same time. And when you’re managing the flow of in-house and delivery orders separately, this can quickly become chaotic. 

When your kitchen is controlled by third-party marketplaces, you have much less control over order volume. It’s not the worst problem to have. But it does quickly overwhelm your kitchen staff and compromise food quality during peak times. 

Solution: Implement one software that orchestrates your kitchen and times out all of your orders – including first- and third-party delivery – ensuring your kitchen operates smoothly without compromising the quality of the food. And that your delivery orders don’t fire until a driver is close by to pick it up.

Mistake #2: Premature Order Preparation

In most kitchens, “get ahead of the wave” is the name of the game to prepare for the peak. For dine-in and pick-up orders, prepping ingredients ahead of time is a great strategy because the kitchen can keep the food hot until the order goes out the door. 

For delivery, this gets trickier. When an order comes in, it gets cooked immediately when there is kitchen capacity to make it. It gets packaged up, put in a to-go bag, and dropped onto a shelf until the driver arrives to pick it up. The kitchen doesn’t know where the assigned driver is or when they will arrive. So food often sits, degrading in quality as minutes pass. 

Solution: Integrate smart technology that times food preparation with driver availability. Instead of pre-assigning orders to drivers who might not be anywhere close to the restaurant, use a dynamic system that assigns each order to the next available driver. This ensures that your food is always handed off to a driver immediately, delivering meals at the best possible quality.

Mistake #3: Disrupting the Dine-in Experience

If more than 20% of your sales are coming from delivery, that means one in five parties coming through your doors are only there to collect an order. One in five parking spots are not directly generating revenue. One in five people talking to the hostess are only trying to collect the right bag. 

This causes additional people to crowd the front of the restaurant, stress your front-of-house staff, and disrupt the experience of dine-in guests. This problem only gets more difficult when there is a lack of coordination between the courier arrival and food prep. Bags sit waiting at the front and impact your overall atmosphere. 

Solution: Outside of technology that times food prep with driver arrival (see #2), you should also designate a specific area for the courier line, separated from your main parking lot, where drivers can line up to accept the next available order as it’s ready. Additionally, it’s a great idea to manage your own pool of on-demand gig drivers who are familiar with your brand and have been handpicked by you for their reliability and professionalism. This system not only streamlines the delivery process but also maintains the integrity of the dine-in experience for your guests.

Mistake #4: Giving Over Control of the Last Mile

There are plenty of mistakes that can happen in the last mile – or the period of time between when the order leaves the restaurant to when it arrives at the guest’s door. When a restaurant relies on a third-party marketplace to complete the delivery, these systems are completely disconnected from your restaurant's operations. This causes a high potential for problems and miscommunications. 

Unfortunately, any errors in this crucial phase often come back to bite the restaurant in the form of complaints, bad reviews, and chargebacks. Third-party marketplaces put the liability on the restaurant, and you potentially lose a repeat guest. 

Solution: To safeguard your brand reputation, it's essential to regain control over the entire delivery process. Implementing a delivery management system that allows for direct communication between your restaurant, your drivers, and your guests can dramatically reduce errors and miscommunications. This setup allows for accurate, real-time updates and ensures any issues can be addressed promptly.

Mistake #5: Losing Personal Connection with Customers

One of the more subtle yet significant losses that come with third-party delivery is losing the personal touch that defines hospitality – and the data that drives it. This disconnect means you don’t have a full picture of who the guest is, what they like, how often they order, and how to get them to order from you again. 

This lack of data prevents effective re-marketing and personalization, which are crucial for building loyalty and repeat business

Solution: When you use one holistic system to manage your entire restaurant and delivery operations, you own and control 100% of your customer data. You’ll have full control to understand customer preferences, tailor marketing efforts, and directly engage with customers to ensure satisfaction. 

Mistake #6: Not Thinking About the Drivers

In the existing delivery model, restaurants see delivery drivers as a means to an end. But in truth, they are integral to the delivery ecosystem. When drivers are unhappy, it throws the entire ecosystem into disarray. They start gaming the system (like batching orders) to get more bang for their buck. Your guests receive inconsistent delivery quality and a poor brand experience. You get to deal with the chargebacks and guest complaints. No one wins.

When drivers are seen as outsiders rather than as partners, they are less likely to be committed to providing the level of service that upholds a restaurant’s brand.

Solution: Managing your own fleet of gig drivers ensures your drivers are treated as equal partners in the delivery ecosystem. They are fairly compensated, receive reliable work, maintain the flexibility they desire, and are incentivized to maintain your brand standards. Dispatch and driver management software can help you manage a pool of dedicated, on-demand drivers without any additional headaches of scheduling, onboarding, and payments.

Mistake #7: Believing You Don’t Have Control to Fix Your Delivery

It’s a common belief among restaurant operators that they are stuck with the inefficiencies and complexities of third-party delivery platforms. Many feel powerless, believing they have no control over the challenges that arise from outsourcing their delivery services. 

Because of this perspective, you likely spend countless hours seeking band-aids and quick solutions to each individual problem that arises – rather than tackling the problem at the source.

Solution: Take control of your delivery operations with a holistic solution like Empower Delivery, which reimagines delivery in order to make it simpler and more affordable for restaurants and consumers.

Take Charge with a Comprehensive Delivery Management System

Empower Delivery gives you the power to take back control of your delivery operations. Our software offers features like integrated driver management, advanced order tracking, and kitchen orchestration tools that enable you to remove all delivery inefficiencies. 

By managing your delivery system in-house, you gain the ability to streamline operations, enhance profitability, and improve the brand experience. This approach not only solves the immediate problems associated with third-party marketplaces, but also sets you up for long-term success in a growing delivery market.