We are in extremely uncertain times right now and lots of you are stepping into unchartered waters and implementing changes to the way you work.
Introducing a click and collect service and deliveries, something that you would have spent months researching, is suddenly a decision many of you are making overnight.
With the news yesterday that restaurants must close but may still operate a takeaway, it’s highly likely even more shops will introduce a delivery or click and collect service over the coming days.
While there’s a lot to consider, we thought we would offer you a few pointers to get you going. By no means is this a list of everything you need to take into account, but it should get you some way to introducing a system that you can later fine-tune.
Scale-down your menu – Make it as easy as possible for staff to get orders out by sticking to your core products. If it’s time-consuming right now to offer all your homemade options, leave them, but if you’ve got staff spare then utilise them to batch make these items and keep them on the menu.
Have a small delivery area – don’t go for quantity right now, this isn’t necessarily about getting new customers, but hanging on to your existing ones while keeping your product in prime condition. You can always extend the delivery zone after things have calmed down.
Use existing packaging – You don’t have time to get samples and do practice runs, so utilise what you have at present. If you have a smaller delivery area as we suggest, then the product will arrive in exactly the same condition as if the customer had carried it home themselves.
Don’t bundle too many orders together – If you’ve got two orders on the same street then, of course, it makes sense to deliver these in one go, but don’t go from one end of town to the other as the product might not survive the distance.
Go contactless – Offer the option of a contactless delivery and make sure staff are trained in this. Agree when an order is placed where the delivery will be left, ring the doorbell and step a distance of at least 1.5m away. Wait for the customer to take the order and leave.
Don’t take cash – Take card/online payment only, not just because card and contactless is seen as the “safer” method right now, but because you’ve got the security that you’ve been paid before you deliver and it eliminates any issues with delivery drivers handling cash.
Organise your staff – If you’ve got staff that can drive already, give them the delivery jobs, while the counter staff can keep doing what they are doing.
Get the correct car insurance – There’s a big misconception that you can simply add business insurance to your personal car insurance policy. This is wrong. You must have Hire & Reward insurance, which allows you to carry other people’s goods in return for payment. If you don’t have this, you will not be covered in the case of a claim if you are involved in an accident during the course of your work. Check out companies such as Co-op and Zego.
Employers’ Liability Insurance – Another area often missed is the need to inform your employers’ liability insurer that you deliver food. If you don’t, and an incident occurs, for example, a driver is attacked and injured, this could void your policy or entitle the insurer to seek compensation from your business if not disclosed.
Consider a third party – Deliveroo, Just Eat & Uber Eats are the market’s three biggest food delivery aggregators and they will do everything for you from marketing to supplying the delivery drivers, although they do take up to 30% commission for doing so. Some are doing special terms in the current crisis. For example, Just Eat is waiving all sign-up fees for new customers and is also relaxing any arrangements that show owners may have in place to enable them to work with other delivery aggregators. Just bear in mind, however, the terms of any offers might sound attractive now, but they will change. Just Eat’s offer, for example, is valid for 30 days.
Consider your own delivery platform – There are just as many, if not more, reputable companies that can create your own platform and which are commission-free, you just pay a monthly fee. Preoday is a popular one that many fish and chip businesses are already using.
Click & Collect – All the time we’re not on lockdown this is a great option as you’re not really doing anything differently, plus you know your orders ahead of time. You can either take orders over the phone or you can have an app created. Again Preoday covers this off but there are many others available.
Promote it – Use social media, put posters in the window and encourage staff to say to customers that if they know of anyone that can’t get out, to tell them you are now doing deliveries. Speak to places like your local care home and see if your delivery service will help them at all. And don’t be afraid to tell customers it is a new service so at times they may have to bear with you. Ask for a positive review if they enjoyed their experience but, if not, tell them to contact you directly first and give you the chance to listen to their feedback and rectify things.
Just remember, you might not get everything right straight away, but if you follow some of these tips, you should get off to a great start.