Ever imagined yourself as an entreprenuer who always had this dying passion for food? How often have you gone hunting miles, to taste some of the best dishes – and that habitually led to you ponder about starting your own venture?
Adding a delivery service to your restaurant is a great way to serve your customers better. Piggybacking on existing businesses, improves the volume of orders and thereby gains more visibility. Planning works a great deal in setting up your business and making in unique. To stand out you need to differentiate your business and thats fundamental. Many of the restaurant delivery services currently operating are local arms of national brands. As far as developing a competitive online presence, this landscape could put you at a disadvantage, but it may work to your advantage if you plan to serve a niche local market by building relationships.
1. Adopting the Latest Technology
For your restaurant delivery service to kick off, you will need an app or a website to communicate to customers about menu offerings and other information. If you’re into this space for the first time, its better to seek the expertise of an expert in this field. Even if your platform isn’t that flashy, it should be easy to use and to navigate. A sophisticated platform will discourage customers from getting aboard. A good platform should contain all the information that your customers are looking out for; such as menu, order customizations, breakdown of costs, estimated delivery time, contact details of the delivery person and live tracking.
If you’re not tech savvy, hire someone to design your platforms but take a proactive, hands-on approach in developing the content, navigating and in the overall feel of the site. A programmer or designer can help you turn your vision into a reality, but the vision should be your own.
2. Finding Restaurant Partners
As a smaller player, your restaurant delivery service will be easier to market if it has a clear theme. You may choose to provide food from restaurants in a specific neighborhood for customers who live that same neighborhood or you might focus on healthier eating options. Whichever target market you choose, narrowing your offerings will make it easier to find the right customers – the customers who will continue to order time after time.
Larger players in this segment will most certainly offer food from a greater number of restaurants than you do. And this is where you can stick out, by offering food from restaurants that more effectively meet your target market’s needs. Your ideal partners will be restaurants that don’t already have their own deliveries and are looking to expand, despite limited seating.
3. Infrastructure and Equipment
Naturally, your restaurant delivery service will need cars or bikes. You can either buy your own bikes/cars and have your company logo printed on them. You can also invest in removable magnets for branding, and arrange for your drivers to use their own mode of transportation – in exchange for mileage reimbursement of course. Invest in hot boxes and bags for keeping food hot (or cold) between pickup and delivery. Also develop physical and organizational systems that prevent food from spilling while in transit.
4. Pricing and Logistics
Create a fee structure that provides you with enough income to make a living while also making it worthwhile for restaurants and customers to use your service. Decide what delivery time you will guarantee for a customer to receive an order. Customers don’t like to wait longer than an hour after they place an order, but this time frame may be stressful and logistically challenging for your restaurant partners. Serving a limited geographic area will make it easier to resolve this issue.
Intergrate a payment mechanism into your application/website as well. This gives your customers the liberty to pay via their Credit/Debit cards or even via various digital transaction apps. Include cash on delivery too for customers who are not inclined towards digital payments.
Marketing – Advertising
A restaurant delivery service offers the convenience of allowing customers to order from a choice of restaurants and have the food delivered to them. If you’ve decided to open a restaurant delivery service, marketing your business is a matter of working with other companies in the community, as well as implementing some creative promotion techniques.
Assisted Living Facilities
- Contact assisted facilities in your city and ask if you can leave promotional materials there. Drop off pamphlets and business cards at the facility, explaining how the network of restaurants you deliver for offer healthy, affordable options for the residents of the assisted living community. It’s also a good idea to talk to the restaurant managers in your delivery network to come up with special deals and promotions for seniors, such as a discount on orders on a certain day of the week.
- Advertise your restaurant delivery service on your social media pages. Feature a different restaurant your business delivers for each week, showcasing the eatery’s most requested entrees, as well as new meals. Offer discounts to the first few people who like your Facebook page or retweet a marketing message you’ve posted on Twitter. Interact with customers by inviting them to post a review of their experience with your business. Encourage consumers to comment on your timeliness, as well as whether the order was taken accurately and the delivery professionals were friendly and helpful.
Hotels and Resorts
- People who are staying at hotels and resorts will likely enjoy the convenience of having their favorite foods delivered to them, especially after the on-site restaurants have closed for the evening. Sign a contract with local hotels and resorts to have your pamphlets and menus placed in each room by the telephone, so patrons can order from any restaurant in your network. You can also offer special discounts or a free dessert to customers who are staying in the hotel for the first time, or for those who have earned vacation points from staying at the resort frequently.
Partnering with Restaurants
- Work with the restaurants you deliver for in a way that will showcase your business each time a patron orders from the restaurant. For instance, arrange to have your business cards featured at the host stand of every restaurant in your network, and ask restaurant managers to have their team staple your card or menu to all takeout order bags.
- Cross Promotional offers are a great way to gain more visibility. Businesses in corporate office parks or companies close to your service location would love to work with you! Leave your menu cards with the caretakers of an office building to gain more customers. [Pay him/her some commissions based on the number of orders you get.] Give a shout on your social networking pages, to the organizations that avail your services the most. This can attract more consumers to use your service, and thereon you could provide discounts for loyal customers.
Starting A Restaurant
There are 3 main pillars to starting any restaurant – Concept! Chef! Location!
Whatever background or level of experience you come from, nothing can totally prepare you for starting your first restaurant. Even more, no matter how much you read or what research you do, there are certain things about being a restaurateur that you can truly only learn from experience. With the level of diversity that we have across the world, there are a wide variety of eateries out there. And to keep them runing smoothly, it takes lots of different skills and patience.
Opening a niche category restaurant is something that’s picking up these days. Catering to small category of eaters, who are looking for those authentic cuisines is what’s setting restaurants’ apart! But then again, if you choose to go with another concept that you think might be fitting, go ahead! Because end of day, Businesses are all about intuitions and taking that big step forward!
Setting Up a Business Plan
A Business Plan is just like a recipe- that is crafted towards getting your objectives fullfilled and going down the right path. It sets the tone to answering, questions about your future restaurant that force you to contemplate the market you serve, the viability of your overall plan, and challenges you might not have otherwise have thought of. When done right, this process will help you refine define the next steps involved in opening your restaurant!
Take a look at the 12 biggest questions you should be answering as part of the business planning process for your future restaurant.
- What kind of restaurant do you want to run?
- Who are your customers? [Target Audience]
- Who are your neighbouring competitors?
- Location, Location, Location
- What is your restaurant’s USP?
- How will your customers find your restaurant?
- What resources will you need?
- How will your restaurant make money?
- How long before you break-even and start making profit?
- What is your staffing plan?
- What values will you never compromise in running your restaurant?
- Long term objectives?
Making It Official!
Now that all the planning and plotting is done, lets get down to the real business. When you’re starting out for the first time, you’ll face more paper and legal work to overcome than at any other point in your business.
Although this ideally isn’t the most exciting, these are foundations that need to be laid to construct a strong house! Taking the time to appropriately establish your new restaurant from the beginning will save you a lot of headache (and potentially even greater consequences) down the line. Here are the main steps you’ll need to take to get your business legally established with the proper documentations.
- Register Your Restaurant’s Official Business Name
- Choose Your Restaurant’s Legal Structure
- Get a Tax Identification Number for Your Restaurant
- Register Your Restaurant for State and Local Taxes
- Secure Permits, Licences, and Insurance for Your Restaurant
- Your Restaurant Will Need Food and Health Codes Licenses
- Health Department Permits
- Get Insured