Since restaurants were forced to shut down their dining areas due to the pandemic, they quickly pivoted to delivery and takeout. This unprecedented shift also led to a fairly new concept for the restaurant industry – contactless or no-contact deliveries.
The industry based on providing “service with a smile” has now entered the uncharted territory of no-contact service. However, with growing concerns of COVID, contactless deliveries had to quickly become a norm to serve customers safely and ensure employees' safety.
If you are getting started with contactless food delivery, it is essential to understand the entire concept and ways to implement it.
What Exactly Is Contactless Food Delivery?
Contactless or no-contact delivery means that the delivery person leaves the food order at the doorstep of the customer, in a lobby, or any other safe place instead of knocking on the door or ringing the bell. The main goal is to avoid any contact between individuals.
The customer gets notified through a text, alert, or a call that their food has arrived, and they can pick it up from the designated place.
To facilitate contactless delivery, the customer also has to make the payment online since the delivery person won’t be interacting with the customer directly.
Why Should You Initiate Contactless Delivery?
Since COVID spreads through contact from person to person, contactless delivery reduces the chances of a spread. Numerous health officials have encouraged multiple appropriate measures to be taken to protect oneself from the COVID, including social distancing. Contactless delivery is one of the recommended measures.
By adopting contactless delivery, restaurants can play a major part in preventing virus transmission and encouraging social distancing. This will also help in serving customers and improving customer satisfaction.
Ways to Implement Contactless Delivery
While no-contact delivery might seem self-explanatory, there are a few factors that you must consider to successfully implement it. Here are the ways you can initial contactless delivery:
1. Investing in the Right Equipment
There are various ways to set up your delivery process. You can hire employees to set up your own delivery system or partner with a food delivery app. While going with a food delivery app has its advantages, it can take time to set up the platform, and you won’t have much control over the delivery.
Setting up your own delivery system can be more beneficial, depending on your requirements. To get started, you will need to consider a few things.
a. Car or Motorbike
First things first, you will need some transportation to get the food delivered. Some of the employees might be able to use their personal vehicle for the deliveries, but some might not have their own vehicle. You can either hire staff who have their own vehicles or invest in affordable motorbikes to make the process easier.
b. Delivery Bags
Even if you are delivering food to someone who lives around the corner of the street, the food has to be warm and fresh. For this, you will need temperature-controlled delivery bags that are sturdy enough to hold all the food.
c. Payment Processing Equipment
One of the main challenges of going with contactless food delivery is that the customers won’t be able to make the payment on the door. To resolve this problem, you can set up a secure online payment system that includes tips. This would enable the customers to pre-pay for their food orders and enjoy contactless delivery.
2. Setting Up Online Ordering
While you can always take orders on the phone, creating an online ordering system would streamline the procedure even more. It will help you in staying organized and take more orders. Online ordering also allows the customers to pay online, which is important in contactless delivery.
3. Providing an Option to Request Contactless Delivery
To make the process more efficient, you would have to allow customers to select a no-contact delivery option. Add an option for contactless delivery with a few options, like “leave at the door,” “leave at the lobby,” or “leave at another designated spot (with an option to add instructions).”
This would help simplify the process for your customers and delivery persons. It is also wise to leave a special instruction option if the customer needs to add more directions.
If you also take phone orders, you must train the employees to inquire whether the customer wants a contactless delivery.
4. Preparing Your Staff
A large number of orders is great for your restaurant, but your staff must also be trained to handle the influx, particularly if you are new to the delivery option. It is essential to train your employees to take the order, arrange the food, pack it the right way, and deliver it properly.
Review the guidelines on sanitation and safety to train your staff on how to stay safe and keep everything sanitized. Explain contactless delivery to your staff and help them understand its importance and need. Ensure they have gloves, first aid kits, face masks, and hand sanitizers with them when they are out for delivery.
5. Creating Proper Packaging
Another crucial factor to consider when starting contactless food delivery is the packaging of the food. The whole aim of the no-contact delivery is to prevent the spread of the virus. Therefore, you must consider the hygiene of the food packaging.
Train your employees to safely pack the food to go for delivery. Reinforce personal hygiene and food safety procedures and take extra precautions when packing the food. Some precautions to consider are as follows:
- Encourage frequent handwashing and wearing gloves
- Always use fresh gloves for every order
- Incorporate frequent sanitization for high-traffic, high-touch areas
- Implement social distancing between employees
- Execute pre-shift screenings of employees
Aside from these, you should task certain employees to only be responsible for packing the food. They would be responsible for safely folding the containers, setting up the packaging station, transferring food in sealed bags, and preparing the bags for delivery.
Invest in tamper-proof packaging and labels. This provides evidence that the package hasn’t been tampered with. This will help give your customers peace of mind and show them that you take sanitization seriously.
6. Determining the Delivery Area
Whether you are using your own employees or third-party delivery persons, you must create a dedicated section for the delivery people to pick up the food. This place should ideally be located outside your restaurant or in a space away from the kitchen staff.
Set up a hand sanitizer station or a washbasin at the delivery area to encourage the delivery people to wash their hands or sanitize before they pick up the food. Provide clear instructions to them to deliver the food to a designated area and alert the customer that their package is ready to be collected.
Clearly instruct the delivery persons that there should not be any direct contact between them and the customers. Moreover, they should wash or sanitize their hands after every delivery.
Aside from the safety of your customers, these practices also help show your employees that you are also concerned about their safety. It is certainly a scary time for the delivery persons to be heading out for delivery, which is why strictly following these safety protocols is integral for everyone’s wellbeing.
7. Communicating with Customers
The steps you take to enhance the safety of your customers and employees, including contactless food delivery options, should be communicated to the customers. Help them understand that these measures are being taken due to the COVID outbreak and preventing the spread.
They might not be aware of contactless delivery, which is why it is best to highlight it on your website and social media pages. You should also train your staff to be prepared to answer any of the customers’ questions and concerns regarding contactless delivery on the phone or via emails.
Ensure you mention how you are taking these measures to help them be safe and healthy. Here are a few ways you can share your message with your customers:
- Update your website about the latest measures and practice
- Add a section on contactless delivery on your FAQ page
- Email the customers about the new updates
- Create social media posts to share about the contactless food delivery
- Add signs on the doors of your restaurant
Contactless food delivery is a safe and effective way of serving delicious cuisines to customers in the comfort of their homes. While the restaurants have started reopening, the contactless delivery option is still beneficial as many people want to maintain social distancing and avoid contact with others.
Following this guide will help you establish and maintain a strong contactless food delivery system. It is essential that you consider utilizing the right technology to make the entire process smooth and easier for your business.
MenuCRM offers a full-features web application that simplifies customer loyalty programs for small businesses and independent restaurant owners. It can be your restaurant’s website, online ordering system, CRM, restaurant loyalty , and customer communications toll, all packed into one!