Do you want to generate extra profits for a restaurant or fast food takeaway, by offering a home delivery courier service? it may not be as simple as you think and there are a number of aspects that you need to think about before going ahead, such as:
If you have an existing eat-in area at a fast food outlet, or have a restaurant, you won't need reminding that when a customer comes in for a meal there are also lots of other expenditures that they make as well. At one extreme there are the cups of coffee or fizzy drinks that get added to the bill; at the other extreme, particularly for a restaurant, the customers may want starters, desserts, wine, speciality coffees or even liqueurs. All these are high profit items that they are extremely unlikely to buy if the meals are delivered to their homes.
On the other hand, it could mean extra business; many people lead busy lives so may welcome the chance to have a restaurant meal at home that will not break the bank, and they may even wish to throw a home dinner party for friends. If you do not offer this service, a competitor may benefit from it instead of you!
A number of these companies, such as Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats grew rapidly during the Covid lockdowns when hot food outlets have the choice of either getting a delivery service quickly or closing their doors, and it is perhaps no exaggeration to say that this stopped a lot of these suppliers going out of business. However for many it has proved a very expensive way of doing business; not only do they have to pay a substantial fee to the delivery company, but they also have to pay the couriers that the companies employ, and all these expenses can take away a lot of profit.
Granted, the delivery companies can generate business for you themselves thanks to their extensive advertising, but there are drawbacks that you must consider:
So, to sum up, there are advantages with dealing with companies like Deliveroo and many food outlets rely on them for a great deal, or even all, of their turnover. However, by allowing them to take charge of your deliveries you would lose a lot of control over them, and your profits on each meal could shrink considerably.
There are a number of essentials to consider; the main ones are organisation, packing, insurance, transport, and training. we will look at these in order:
Organisation: it is imperative that the right meals are delivered to the right person, as quickly as possible (subject of course to a proper respect for road safety). There are apps that you can use which track meals from their initial order to their final delivery to the customer, and these could save a lot of potential problems, particularly if a customer complains that a meal that was delivered was not the one ordered; or worse still that it did not arrive at all. To help avoid this every component of an order should be clearly marked; again a good app could print the necessary labels for you.
It would be a good idea if the delivery driver carried a list of the ordered items, and asked the customer to sign for them; this can be a very wise precaution since unfortunately not everyone is 100% honest and false claims of wrong deliveries are not at all uncommon.
Packing: each item of the order should be in a purpose made foil lined container, which is designed to keep the food hot. It should then be stacked in an insulated carrying case or box; extra insulation such as bubblewrap may be necessary if there is going to be some delay before delivery. Some people place heat packs inside these insulated carriers; this can help keep the food hot but it not only adds weight for the courier to carry, but it can also put them at risk of burn injury, and so it is something to be very careful about.
Insurance: many people who deliver items for their employers think that their car or scooter insurance covers them for this. This is far from the truth. Anyone who carries any goods for delivery and is paid to do so must, by law, have a form of insurance known as 'hire and reward'. If the courier fails to have this he or she is likely to be uninsured, which means that in the event of a fault accident an insurer would probably be well within it's rights to refuse a payout, and perhaps worse the courier could face a large fine, licence points and confiscation of the vehicle that was being driven.
Transport: the most popular vehicle for food couriers is a scooter, because it can be cheap to run, and more manoeuvrable than a car, particularly in heavy traffic. Unfortunately though the accident rate for scooter riding couriers is quite high; partly because they are extremely vulnerable compared to other types of vehicle on the road, and partly because their very manoeuvrability encourages risky manoeuvres and excessive speed. What does not help either is the backpack that many couriers use to carry their deliveries in; these can cause discomfort and balance issues, and if a scooter is the chosen means of transport then a fixed, insulated storage pannier may be a good idea.
Training: hot food needs to be kept hot; otherwise there could be a danger of bacterial growth. Apart from that, cold food should never be delivered to a client who is expecting a hot meal; that can only cause complaints and loss of future business. A food thermometer (which must be kept scrupulously clean) may be provided to them, so that they can check the temperature if there is any doubt that it is OK. Couriers should be trained to stay safe and legal whilst on the road; and they should be capable of good customer relations. Not least of all, a smile and a pleasant attitude towards customers could be a good way of increasing tips!
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