Delivery and takeout best practices for restaurant operators

With the rise of food delivery services, takeout and delivery have become increasingly popular ways for consumers to enjoy restaurant meals. Nearly 60% of restaurant sales now come from takeout or delivery orders. As a restaurant operator, it’s essential to have an effective takeout and delivery program to meet this demand and boost revenue. But operating a seamless takeout and delivery service requires strategic planning and execution.

In this blog post, we’ll provide restaurant operators with best practices to optimize takeout and delivery operations. Whether you currently offer takeout and delivery or are planning to add these services, these tips of using restaurant management software will help you enhance your customer experience, increase order volume and accuracy, and improve profitability. Let’s dive in!

Evaluate Your Concept and Menu for Takeout and Delivery

The first step is to objectively evaluate your restaurant concept and menu to determine which items translate well for takeout and delivery. This ensures food quality and presentation are not compromised when food travels off-site.

Consider the specific dishes you offer. Avoid delicate foods like soufflés or crispy tempura that won’t hold up. Also, determine which menu items may sog or spill during transit. For example, a towering burger may not travel well. Modify problematic menu items or opt not to include them for takeout/delivery.

Next, consider developing family-style bundles, meal packages, and “heat and eat” options specifically designed for takeout and delivery. This provides diners full meals with ease and convenience. Portion dishes for travel, include reheating/serving instructions, and package items together.

Invest in sturdy, tamper-resistant packaging that maintains temperature and prevents leaks and spills. Test different containers to determine which keep food hottest/coldest during the delivery process. Investing in proper packaging is well worth it to ensure food arrives just as perfect as it would dine-in.

Choose the Right Delivery Partners

To maximize your delivery reach, partner with popular third-party delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and GrubHub. Research each service’s commission rates, contract terms, marketing capabilities, and driver coverage within your area. Consider exclusivity requirements, brand promotion opportunities, delivery time guarantees, and more. Determine which providers align best with your delivery goals before establishing partnerships.

You may also want to offer in-house delivery if you have the staff and logistics to handle it capably. While managing your own delivery has higher upfront costs for vehicles, drivers, equipment, etc., it also gives you more quality control over the customer experience from order to delivery. If going the in-house route, be sure delivery processes are well-planned and executed consistently.

Optimize Operations and Layout

Your restaurant layout and operations should be assessed to integrate takeout and delivery orders seamlessly into the mix. This optimization prevents bottlenecks and long ticket times, even during dine-in rushes.

Consider setting up a separate takeout station away from dine-in sections. The dedicated area allows packaging, checking, and handoff of takeout and delivery orders without getting bogged down. Make sure the space is properly equipped and staffed to handle increased online, phone, and in-person takeout ordering at peak times.

Use back-of-house space to stage packaged delivery orders on labeled shelving. This keeps them organized for driver pickup. Invest in warming units, refrigeration, and cooling systems to hold delivery orders at proper temperatures until dispatched for delivery.

Adjust your staffing plan and schedules to account for the influx of takeout and delivery orders during rush periods. Have dedicated staff to manage packaging, order facilitation, driver handoff, and takeout customer service. Cross training staff enables flexibility to adjust support where needed.

Enhance the Delivery Customer Experience

A major component of successful delivery is enhancing the customer’s experience from order to delivery. Convenience, communication, and attention to detail provide diners added value.

First, make the ordering process as seamless as possible. Offer online, phone, and app ordering capabilities. Provide accurate delivery time estimates and order tracking. This allows customers to plan accordingly.

Invest in branded packaging, stickers, and inserts. Quality packaging builds brand awareness and turns one-time customers into regulars. Insert menus and promotions to nurture future orders. Provide all necessary utensils and condiments for each meal.

Attention to detail also provides a better customer delivery experience. Ensure orders are 100% accurate before dispatch. Package items meticulously to prevent leaks, spills, and breakage. Deliver food at optimum temperatures. Also, train delivery drivers to be professional and courteous.

Finally, cater to COVID-era preferences by offering contactless delivery options. Customers may want no-contact handoff and prepayment to minimize interaction. Provide clear instruction to drivers and customers on the contactless process.

Market Your Delivery Program

Once your delivery processes are in place, get the word out! Marketing creates awareness of your new or expanded takeout and delivery services. Promote delivery service availability through your website, social media platforms, email campaigns, and in-store signage.

Consider offering discounts for first-time delivery customers to incentivize trial. For example, 15% off their first delivery order. Promotions like free delivery, discounted meals, BOGO deals, and bundled family meals also help attract and retain customers.

If using third-party delivery services, make sure your restaurant is listed on their site/app and menu information is up to date. Being discoverable on these high-traffic directories helps reach new potential customers.

Do not underestimate traditional marketing like mailers, billboards, and local media advertising to announce new delivery services. Targeted efforts build localized awareness and orders.

Finally, collect customer feedback about their delivery experience through surveys and reviews. Monitor feedback continually to address issues and make improvements. Delivery services require constant evaluation and evolution to excel. Listen to your customers to provide the best program possible.


Overall, you get the distinct advantages of restaurant pickup and delivery software that allow your restaurants to optimize operations. By integrating online ordering and delivery management platforms, restaurants can boost sales volumes, enhance efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction.

The software streamlines ordering by providing customers with user-friendly mobile apps and websites to place orders digitally. This reduces labor costs associated with taking phone orders. The software also facilitates communication between front and back-of-house teams to improve order accuracy and pickup times.

Additionally, delivery management software integrates with third-party partners to expand a restaurant’s delivery radius. It allows restaurants to manage driver assignments, tracking, and customer notifications to ensure professional, on-time delivery.

With customized reporting and analytics, restaurant operators can leverage data and insights to refine menus, pricing, and marketing campaigns. By implementing this innovative software, restaurants can successfully meet rising consumer demand for convenient takeout and delivery.

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