But if you’re in the food delivery business, you know how much work happens behind the scenes to make that convenience happen. Delivery logistics are complex, and efficiency can spell the difference between a subpar customer experience and a rave review.
Here are the top must-know hacks that can help turn even the most daunting logistical challenges in food delivery logistics into a piece of cake.
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11 top efficiency hacks for food delivery
1. Offer curbside collection
Takeout or curbside collection captures a crucial segment of the market that, for various reasons, prefers to pick up their orders rather than have them delivered.
Adding a pick-up option has several advantages:
Restaurants and food delivery services can increase order volume and turn orders around faster.
Customers can simply drive up and collect their food, rather than relying on delivery timings.
It eliminates the cost of using a third-party service or delivery driver.
It creates an opportunity to serve customers who are just passing through the area.
Scheduled deliveries usually means more deliveries per route. That in turn means lower costs.
Use route optimization to plan the most efficient routes for maximum profitability.
5. Provide real-time notifications
Real-time notifications play a key role in customer satisfaction. By keeping customers informed about their food order status — from receiving their order through preparation and dispatch to the final delivery — you help create a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Online food delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats have set the standard here, enabling customers to watch their deliveries in real time as they approach. This transparency can increase customer trust and loyalty, and also reduce potential mix-ups or communication lapses with customers.
Modern delivery management systems like Routific include live order tracking, so you can offer the same customer experience even if you’re managing deliveries in-house.
6. Optimize your website
Making it easy for customers to order from you is critical. That means investing in a well-designed website, and keeping it up to date. It should work just as well on mobile as on a desktop.
Your website should make it easy to:
Browse menu options, including making suggestions based on previous orders
If you’re just starting out or transitioning to a new website, think about how to make your domain name as memorable as possible. One way is to take advantage of the fact that there are more than 1,200 top-level domains (TLDs) to choose from — you’re not limited to .com! For example, a company called Atlantic Eatery could use an .ae domain to make their URL more memorable.
7. Use a mobile app
Food delivery apps like DoorDash, Grubhub, Deliveroo, Just Eat or FoodPanda are popular because they make meal delivery super easy, for both companies and their customers. For a small restaurant business, for example, having someone else take care of the whole delivery process is what makes it possible in the first place.
If you opt for a third-party mobile delivery app, choose one that’s already popular with your target market. Most people will prefer the app that’s ready on their phones.
There are some downsides to using one of the big food delivery platforms:
They can be expensive, with lots of hidden fees.
Customer loyalty goes to the platform, not the supplier.
You have no control over the delivery experience.
Unless you have enough cash to build your own delivery app, the only alternative is to manage your deliveries in-house. With modern delivery management software, this is a lot easier than it used to be. And the mobile app for drivers usually comes free as part of the package, so you still have many of the advantages of mobility.
For additional functionality, you can use remote device connect tools to interact with and issue instructions to your drivers within your chosen delivery software system.
8. Collect driver feedback
Listening to drivers is an under-rated way to streamline operations. Drivers can provide valuable first-hand insights into route problems, vehicle issues, customer behaviors, and other operational challenges. Regular, structured feedback allows you to address small issues before they become larger problems.
You may need to set up a few new tools or platforms, like a virtual PBX, to collect the information you're looking for from your drivers. This can ensure your drivers are easily contactable and can provide real-time feedback as soon as they encounter any issues while working.
What is a virtual PBX?
A virtual PBX is a type of phone networking service that allows companies to manage their phone communication system via the Internet. Unlike a traditional PBX that requires businesses to invest in complex and expensive hardware, a virtual PBX offers the same services but is hosted and managed by a third-party provider on a cloud-based system. This also makes it easy to offer VoIP phone services.
9. Improve your local SEO
A strong local SEO strategy can attract more customers in your geographical region. By optimizing your website and online listings with key location-based keywords, positive reviews, and local business citations, you can increase visibility for people searching for food delivery services in your area.
Strong local SEO directly contributes to higher sales and profits, making this an invaluable tool for smaller businesses striving to compete on an equal footing with larger companies.
11. Pay close attention to food packaging
A significant part of a good food delivery experience is the condition of the food when it arrives. Good packaging keeps the food fresh, hot (or cold), and intact.
Additionally, investing in high-quality, eco-friendly packaging not only helps maintain food quality but also speaks of your commitment to environmental sustainability.
12. Make sure delivery software is easy to use
The efficiency and simplicity of your delivery softwarecan make a huge difference in your logistics operations.
For planners and dispatchers, your delivery system should help easily schedule deliveries, plan routes, communicate with drivers and keep customers updated with real-time notifications. An added bonus is metrics that help you track driver shifts and cost per delivery.
For drivers, a delivery system should include a mobile app that makes it easy to view order details, navigate to delivery locations, and update delivery status. A user-friendly interface will avoid confusion, reduce the chances of errors, and improve the overall delivery time, thus enhancing your service effectiveness and customer satisfaction.
Challenges in food delivery logistics
Efficient order management
Efficicient food delivery starts with efficient order management. Mishandled or misplaced orders cause customer dissatisfaction and loss of business.
Cash has been the traditional payment method for many years — but the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out cash payments along with a lot of in-person transactions. Today consumers expect digital payment options including credit/debit card payments, mobile money, and proprietary online wallets. When you’re looking for an ordering system, payment options are an important thing to consider.
Competition from larger companies
In the food delivery market, competition from giant national or multinational companies can be a daunting challenge for smaller startups trying to build their own market share. These larger companies usually have a better financial base, broader geographical coverage, and more robust technical resources, giving them an edge in the market.
To carve out your own space, lean into the local advantage. Smaller, local businesses can offer customer service and personal connections that larger companies often lack. Additionally, specialized or unique offers can help you acquire a niche market that may be overlooked by larger competitors.
Food delivery efficiency largely depends on route planning. Poor or inefficient route planning can result in unnecessary fuel consumption, vehicle wear and tear, delayed deliveries, and dissatisfied customers.
Leveraging modern mapping technologies, route optimization algorithms, and real-time traffic data can streamline route planning.
Getting your logistical operations in order can be a challenge, but it's just as important a factor to address as a business plan or the food itself. Using these tips and a few valuable resources, you can turn logistics from a daunting task into a competitive edge.