In the past couple of months, our world has changed beyond all recognition as many of us have been confined to homes.  During this time there have been a huge number of changes including the way we work, the way we shop and, the way that we keep in touch with loved ones.  One thing, however, that hasn’t changed is our demand for great, restaurant quality food.  In fact, with limited options for socialising, food has become more important than ever and, many restaurants have pivoted their businesses to include takeaway and delivery options.  As we finally look toward an end to the lockdown, it’s unlikely that customers will be rushing back to restaurants as dine-in customers and, the general opinion is that collection and delivery will remain important options in the coming months. 

Hold the phone and switch to smarter food ordering

As we become accustomed to a new way of dining, it’s vital that restaurants and cafes make sure that they have the resources to adapt.  Restaurants who are still relying on orders being placed by telephone will soon find themselves overwhelmed – and left behind.  Even before COVID-19 changed all of our lives, restaurants around the world recognised the need for more efficient and accurate food orders for takeaway and delivery.  Taking food orders by phone is time consuming and is subject to human error in terms of orders being placed incorrectly due to misunderstandings and language difficulties.  With customers becoming increasingly demanding, few restaurants can afford to lose business this way in 2020.

A new way

Thankfully, today’s restaurants are spoilt for choice with a whole menu of solutions to allow them to streamline their takeaway and collection operations.  Many restaurants are choosing to get on board with a food delivery service such as Uber Eats and Just Eat in order to serve customers quickly and easily.  These services are usually quick and easy to sign up with in most areas. 

How do these services work?

Using Just Eat as an example, you can sign up online – simply input details of your restaurant and upload your ID.  Just Eat will then send you a welcome pack and a tablet and printer for orders.  Just Eat will then add your restaurant to its website so that it is visible to Just Eat customers who can then peruse your menu and place orders online.  

Just Eat charges a one off joining fee of £295 excluding VAT and, also, charges 14% commission per order. 

Although services like these can be extremely convenient for the small restaurant or takeaway, they can work out to be an expensive solution in the long run with a relatively high commission to be paid on each and every order received. Additionally, these services allow the restaurant owner very little control over website placement and ordering options, including delivery charges and minimum order prices. 

Have your cake and eat it

For restaurants and takeaways with a high volume of traffic, a more practical (and more affordable) solution is to invest in a comprehensive online ordering system such as Upmenu.  Systems such as these put the control of food ordering firmly in the hands of the restaurant management, effectively cutting out the middle man.  The benefits of getting on board with this include: 

  • Autonomy – the restaurant doesn’t need to rely on a third party to make amends to the online presence
  • Control – the restaurant has full control over the content of the menu and terms such as delivery charges
  • Cost – services like Upmenu don’t charge a commission on orders
  • Mobile – these services allow restaurants to easily add a mobile app
  • Features – becoming a member of these services gives restaurants access to a whole set of features including marketing tools
  • Branding – these services allow restaurants to add their own branding to content
  • Feedback – unlike the food delivery services, upmenu allows restaurants to receive feedback instantly – which is vital for restaurants, particularly in the case of complaints

Upmenu offers three simple price packages at $49, $89 and $169 per month allowing restaurants to easily manage their budgeting without any extra commission costs. 

There’s no doubt that 2020 will have more surprises in store for the hospitality industry – particularly with some countries experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus.  For this reason, it’s more important than ever before that restaurants make sure that they can continue to deliver great food and excellent customer service in order to survive.