What seemed like an overnight change, the restaurant industry was upended by the spread of COVID-19, with doors forced to close and restaurant transactions dropping by as much as 71%.
By the end of March 2020, many restaurants were left hanging out to dry, figuring out how they would keep their business open. One way restaurants survived the spring and summer fallout from the coronavirus was restaurant delivery.
Restaurants that are able to adapt quickly by offering delivery to support customer needs stand the best chance of surviving and thriving coming out of COVID-19. Even as doors start to reopen and stay-at-home mandates lift, operating a delivery option helps supplement restaurants’ income.
Below, we share examples of how the industry can shift to put a focus on online ordering and restaurant delivery services.
Restructuring Menus and Prices
For many restaurants, the switch to takeout and delivery requires a complete menu reboot. Restaurants should look at their current menu and see which items are most conducive to being packed and transported. If possible, add new items that fit the menu better.
Restaurants can limit their menu to exclusively feature items that travel well in both entirely new dishes using ingredients that are already in-house and packaging them in new ways. Whether it’s more focused on appetizers and tapas or switching to a menu with more small plates packaged together as a deal, restaurant delivery should focus on a smaller and more efficient menu.
Some items hold up better while traveling. Instead of fish entrees, for example, restaurants can opt for sturdier options like proteins, salads, and pasta.
Transportation safety is key. The quality of food is paramount, and restaurants should want to make sure that once a delivery is requested that the products are nothing short of delicious when they arrive. Salads and sandwiches tend to travel and sell well, and they are more recognizable to a wide range of customers.
Restaurants should skip items sensitive to temperature changes or any that need to be plated with other items in a larger setting. For soups, like ramen or pho, they should be delivered in separate containers, splitting up broth and noodles with instructions for reheating.
Leases, Contracts, and Insurance
Restaurants changing to or adding delivery service should also not forget to look at their contracts, lease agreements, and Restaurant Insurance Program to determine whether the forced provisions help or hurt.
These provisions in a contract excuse a covered party from performing its contractual obligations that become impossible due to an event like COVID-19, something that wasn’t anticipated. Because the specific contract provisions determine the question of whether the impacts of the coronavirus on restaurants excuse them from contractual obligations, a thorough review is needed.
Even though dine-in is back in most states, delivery is here to stay. The sooner a restaurant moves to an online ordering and delivery business model, the faster it can adapt its customers with a service that they need for the future.
About Irving Weber Associates
At Irving Weber Associates, Inc., we understand what it takes to run a successful restaurant business. Our Restaurant Advantage Program ensures that they are financially protected against claims, and offers comprehensive Insurance coverages including General Liability, Liquor Liability, Property Liability, Food Contamination, Delivery Errors & Omissions, Commercial Auto and many more. For a detailed look at how we can help you safeguard your business with a custom-tailored package, please contact our experts today at (800)