The food service industry, like so many other industries, is ripe for disruption. This is mostly due to the growing number of delivery-only restaurants. If you are thinking of starting a food delivery service, now is the time!
These establishments provide food in the same way that any other brick-and-mortar establishment does, with one major exception: you cannot enter the establishment. Your meal order is instead completed by a third-party service like Shopify and delivered by their delivery person.
As a result, restaurants like these are frequently referred to as “ghost kitchens,” “virtual restaurants,” “cloud restaurants,” or “black kitchens.” Regardless matter how you refer to it, the meal delivery industry is transforming the landscape.
Table of Contents
- Advantages of Starting a Food Delivery Service
- 1) Prioritize Your Delivery Experience
- 2) Create a Brand
- 3) Find a Commercial Kitchen
- 4) Get to Know Your Customer
- 5) Use Delivery Management Software
- 6) Strive for Perfection
- 7) Put a Personal Touch on It
Advantages of Starting a Food Delivery Service
The most obvious advantage of starting a food delivery service is the lower overhead costs. Opening a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant necessitates a large financial investment, as you must lease space, decorate it with equipment and decor, hire staff, and so on. Similarly, running a food truck (a popular alternative to regular restaurants) necessitates purchasing a vehicle, installing it with equipment, and maintaining it over time; these challenges are exacerbated by complex legal requirements and erratic sales.
A ghost kitchen, on the other hand, requires far less room to run than a typical restaurant and avoids the hassles of vehicle maintenance as well as the legality of operating a travelling restaurant. This means that you, the restaurant owner, will be able to start your business with less capital. Virtual restaurants lower the entry barriers for anyone who wish to start their own food business by solely taking delivery orders.
While starting a meal delivery business is a terrific way to get started, it does come with unique issues that you might not have to worry about when starting a different type of restaurant. We’ll show you how to start a food delivery service in the sections below.
1) Prioritize Your Delivery Experience
While delivery and takeout options are frequently an afterthought for traditional restaurants and food trucks, they are becoming increasingly important as customer demands change. This frequently leads to lower food quality and presentation, resulting in consumer complaints or displeasure.
The secret to launching a successful food delivery service is to overcome this obstacle by prioritizing the delivery experience and optimizing your menu for delivery. The key to the delivery strategy is avoiding food that arrives as a cold, soggy mess; this will keep your clients satisfied and coming back for more.
So, how do you go about doing this? Create a simple menu with a variety of flexible ingredients to improve product consistency while also lowering supplier costs. Then, to optimize the final product your clients will receive from the delivery driver, pay attention to the timing, temperature, quality, and flavor of your food, as well as the preparation procedures and packaging.
2) Create a Brand
You’re ready to start creating buzz in the neighbourhood you’ll serve after you know who your consumer is. Given that your food delivery service will operate nearly entirely online, you’ll want to spend time and money developing a logo, website, menu, and other digital assets that can be utilized across all of your marketing platforms.
You may build your website on a variety of platforms, but no matter which one you choose, make sure you utilize it to display your business, tell your narrative, and let customers learn more about you.
Then, set aside some time to create intriguing social media profiles that include your contact information or a link to your website. Instagram and Facebook are two of the most popular social media platforms for delivery-only restaurants, but do your research to learn more about your consumers and how you can engage with them.
3) Find a Commercial Kitchen
While you’re establishing your brand, you’ll also need to find a kitchen in which to prepare your meals. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be your kitchen. Your food must be prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen in order to comply with food safety regulations.
The good news is that, because to a growth of shared commercial kitchens in recent years, finding a space can be a lot easier than you think!
Shared-use Kitchens are commonly rented out by the hour, day, or month to numerous tenants rather than to a single business for years at a time, as they are meant to be utilized by multiple enterprises. Most kitchens may demand a deposit when you first use them, but you can book and pay for your time in the space on a pay-as-you-go basis. With this method, you’ll have a ghost kitchen up and running in no time!
4) Get to Know Your Customer
You’ll want to investigate and thoroughly grasp who your customer is and how you can best serve them, just like you would with any new business. Finding your niche or target market is even more vital as a food delivery service.
Do you live near a college campus where you can serve students who order food at all hours of the day and night? Could you concentrate your efforts on local senior centres or people who are unable to leave their homes? Will you open a restaurant in a city’s commercial district to cater to busy professionals who frequently work through their lunch hour? Perhaps you’ve spotted a gap in your area for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or other specific dietary options, which you could address with your service.
Identifying the precise target market you want to serve will not only help you build a menu that is tailored to that market, but it will also help you focus your marketing and branding efforts. To begin, search up other businesses in your area to get a sense of who is in your neighbourhood.
5) Use Delivery Management Software
The delivery software you choose has a direct impact on the customer experience. That is why taking the time to find the best local delivery software for your company is so important. After all, if your software gives you all you need to fulfill deliveries correctly, your ghost kitchen will be more successful.
Some of the features to look for in delivery software are as follows:
- Helps with Fulfillment: A lot of delivery software is intended to transport you or your drivers to a specific spot. It doesn’t connect to the back-end, so you’ll have to go back and correct the orders after the delivery person arrives. A good delivery planner fulfills orders quickly thanks to seamless connectivity with your back-end.
- Delivery Confirmation: Proof of delivery will provide you and your clients peace of mind. Multiple delivery images, an e-signature, and an optional delivery note can all be attached by your driver.
Tracking Pages for Customers: Customers value transparency, thus providing a delivery tracking page where they can track the delivery progress of their products is critical. Customers will be unable to contact you for an update as a result of this.
With EasyRoutes’ delivery software for ghost kitchens, small businesses can receive all of this and more. Ghost kitchens rely on EasyRoutes to get their food into the hands of customers swiftly and effectively. The delivery experience provided by EasyRoutes results in happier customers who are more likely to purchase from you again in the future.
6) Strive for Perfection
Make sure you’ve thoroughly tested your menu, packing, and delivery method before delivering anything to a paying consumer. Concentrate on making food that will travel well and finding packing materials that will keep the food warm while allowing it to arrive as planned. Request samples of your suppliers’ products so you may test them when you’re evaluating them.
Make sure you have someone serving as quality control between the kitchen and the driver once you’ve opened your virtual doors. This individual should double-check the orders to ensure that everything is packed and ready to go, that the proper utensils are provided, and that the orders are being completed on time. This tracking technique will aid in the elimination of errors as well as the identification of additional chances for improvement. After all, launching your company is merely the first, not the last, step on your path.
7) Put a Personal Touch on It
When it comes to what people order for dinner, today’s consumers have a lot of options, so it’s critical that you stand out. Adding a unique and personal touch to your orders is a terrific way to stand out from the crowd and enhance your brand. Mints and fortune cookies are a cheap and simple way to add a little something extra to your party, but they’re also overdone. Consider putting a handwritten message, a tiny collectible object related to your brand, or another trinket instead. Creating a memorable experience for your food delivery clients will ensure that they remember you the next time they place an order.
Above all, make sure you select excellent systems and software to aid your food delivery service’s success. To get started, check out EasyRoutes’ food delivery management software for Shopify.