Delivery and chill — or work, or hang — is the new way of life. That’s especially true for the younger crowd: Millennials are projected to drive food delivery sales to a whopping $365 billion worldwide by 2030. But restaurants are well aware of the challenges of maintaining quality once a meal has left the building. And a sub-par delivery experience — think cold fries and a spilled milkshake — can spell the point of no return for a customer, who’s also apt to leave a bad review. On the other hand, an excellent experience can have the opposite effect, turning a first-time diner into a loyal customer.
Here are five simple ways you can improve your customers’ delivery experience, and make sure that your to-go menu is optimized for sales.
1. Strategize your menu placement
Food delivery company Eat24 found that users ordered more items, and ordered more frequently, when using apps versus desktop. Being exposed to new options via a strategic app experience helped encourage customers to branch out of their routine and try other options. Think about the customer whose go-to is a Buffalo-style chicken burrito, but may love to try your shrimp enchiladas with a side of Sriracha.
Be strategic about where you place items in your delivery menu, especially when using a third-party ordering app. For example, if you’re offering new bowls, don’t bury them underneath five sections of other menu items — place them at the top to share the new item with customers. Also consider offering a “specials” or “favorites” menu to highlight unique menu items that customers may not know about.
2. Include appealing upsells
Delivery platforms offer a great opportunity to tempt your customers with upsells. Whether it’s premium toppings on a pizza or burger, or the option to add an additional side or beverage, don’t forget to suggest specific upsells to accompany each menu item.
And keep in mind that sauces don’t have to be free, especially if they come from premium brands. While 40% of customers expect to find Mini-Bottles in their takeout order, they’re also willing to pay up to $1 more to add on a Mini, according to a Datassential study conducted for TABASCO® Brand. That means incremental sales that add up. You can also customize your Minis with your restaurant logo, so your customers think of you every time they shake out a drop.
3. Invest in packaging
It’s not just what you deliver, it’s how you deliver it. From an IHOP carrier meant to trap heat and reduce sogginess in a stack of pancakes to fast food franchises innovating to solve the perennial “cold french fry” conundrum, delivery packaging is a hot topic.
But a better delivery experience doesn’t have to demand R&D. A simple sticker with your restaurant’s logo on top of a biodegradable box is still more memorable than a plastic or Styrofoam carton. Packing items thoughtfully, rather than throwing them haphazardly into a bag, can also save the temperature and integrity of each item.
4. Throw in a thank-you note
A physical thank-you note is a thoughtful touch that tells your customers that they’re not just another order coming through your system. Better yet, add a coupon or an incentive to order again, such as a free dessert or appetizer with their next order. You can also use this note to encourage reviews: 53% of Millennials use reviews to help them make dining decisions, according to Grubhub research, so it pays to catch your customers in their post-meal happy moment.
Don’t forget the sauce
Remember portion-control sizes or formats let you offer (and even upsell) sauces that elevate customers’ meals, whether it’s hot sauce, barbecue or soy. Packets and plastic cup/lid combos are the most common, but sauces can also come in fun (and cute) packages. TABASCO® Mini-Bottles contain the perfect single serving of sauce in the flavors customers love (the iconic Original Red, mild Green Jalapeño and bold Chipotle Pepper Sauces).
Why not try TABASCO® Mini-Bottles for yourself? Contact a TABASCO Foodservice broker to learn about ordering Minis to enhance your carryout and delivery experience.