Strategies for a successful delivery operation


Caterers who have developed or expanded the take-away and delivery business as an additional mainstay now have an advantage. Once again, take-away and delivery are the most important because they are the only distribution channels. Those who have used the time to make their webshop strong have good prerequisites to achieve sales in November. A contribution from Jean-Georges Ploner.

Those who have made good provisions have enough packaging material, a loyal regular guest clientele and a good marketing concept. In addition, the following tips could promote business:

Use as many channels as possible

In order to take advantage of all opportunities and receive as many orders as possible, it is essential to use as many channels as possible. This means being listed with third-party suppliers such as Lieferando, Eatura from Rosbach or the new Finnish delivery service Wolt, but also having your own web store. One of the company's goals must be to increase the proportion of orders placed via its own site. This will increase revenues and raise the level of awareness.

Some providers of gastro registers have webshop tools including online payment options that are integrated directly on the website of the gastronomy business and work platform independent. If delivery service is offered for telephone or online orders, it can be a good solution to join forces with neighboring restaurateurs. One employee takes over the transport service for three or four businesses. Working together makes you strong and saves costs!

Align concept

The situation determines the purchase decision: sometimes everyday, sometimes something special. The Asian restaurant or the pizzeria in the neighborhood ensures the supply from noon to evening. The take-away or delivery service offered by upscale restaurants is more suitable for weekends or special occasions, for example in the form of ready-made menus and feasts in cooking boxes. Especially they can profit from the pre-Christmas season and develop seasonal offers around the classic holiday dishes. Already in the previous years, restaurateurs achieved success with the to-go variant of the Martins Goose with dumplings and red cabbage including red wine.

Consider contribution margin

Even if sales are significant, in the end the decisive factor is what remains when deducting the variable costs from the sales. In the current crisis situation this is even more important than usual. That's why the following applies now: 100 percent focus on high-margin food and beverages, creating volume, putting together packages. Add an appetizer or an additional offer at a reasonable price. Always sell drinks with meals. Every euro of contribution margin earned from a bottle of wine is a contribution to survival.

Expanding communication

Now it pays off who has cultivated and expanded his regular customers. Regular customers can be addressed individually via e-mail or whatsapp messages. Those who have digitally positioned themselves in this area can now act quickly and directly. In many cases, online table reservation systems offer corresponding modules for digital customer management and communication.

Experience has shown that a large proportion of orders are picked up by the customers themselves. The crucial question is: How can the pickup situation be turned into a personal encounter so that the customer remembers it? The current situation is perfect for strengthening the bond with regular customers. After all, the guests are just as affected by the new measures as the hosts. Strong together is just as valid now as in spring!

Neighbourhood marketing

One important factor for the success of the webshop is the location-specific marketing. For this purpose, the restaurateur must know his customer groups, their preferences and their buying behavior. In the current situation, it can make sense to fall back on classic "church tower marketing": Flyers and coupons with offers tailored to the customer groups are distributed in the neighborhood and given with every order. Repeat business is rewarded with an extra or bonus.

Conclusion: Even if the bigger enterprises can probably deal with the current situation better, because they already have experience and routine, and financial assistance is promised, the renewed lockdownintensifies the situation, which is existentially threatening for many enterprises. There is much solidarity among the population and a strong awareness of the emergency situation in the industry. If the current closure ends after four weeks and the guests return quickly, the year could still come to an unpleasant end for many companies. However, if the measure is extended and the traditionally strong Christmas business completely disappears, the lights in many restaurants will no longer come on in January.

The author is founder and managing director of F&B Heroes GmbH and has been active in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years (www.fbheroes.de).

This text first appeared (in German) on the page of our sister newspaper ahgz.de.