Three Steps to Adjust Your Menu for Delivery


Is your delivery menu identical to your dine-in menu? It probably shouldn’t be. With COVID-19 fuelling greater delivery sales for most restaurant operations, it’s more important than ever to take time to examine your menu to ensure it will represent your restaurant well in your customers’ homes. Here are three steps for re-designing your menu with delivery in mind.

1. Ensure menu items travel well.

When you designed your dine-in menu, you tested your recipes for quality under a multitude of situations. Over time, you’ve refined your dine-in menu to account for how busy your kitchen gets, the quality of ingredients you can source, customer feedback, and issues that have arisen. 

Now, you need to run the same tests all over again for delivery. When an order goes out of your restaurant, into a vehicle or on the back of a messenger bike, to a customer’s door, to their kitchen table, and finally to the plate, it’s a lot longer journey than just from the kitchen to the guest’s table. 

Each extra step adds more time for the food to cool (or warm up), spill, or go soggy. You need to correctly package each item so that it arrives at its destination in the best condition possible. Test multiple types of containers and suppliers to determine the most suitable ones for each menu item. Consider what your competition does when they prep their food for delivery, and learn from their successes and mistakes. This article provides in-depth delivery packaging tips for restaurants. 

2. Calculate your new margins.

Now that you know how well each of your menu items travel, you need to determine which of these items are profitable when delivered. In the last step, you tested each menu item with a variety of packaging options to determine which ones keep your food the freshest. But for some items, the cost of packaging needed to keep the item at its best may cut too deeply into margins. 

Take each menu item that passed the travel test, and calculate your margin on it after adding in the cost of packaging. If it’s still profitable, keep it. If not, consider either raising the price of the item or cutting it from your delivery menu. You can find how to calculate margin and other delivery costs in this article

3. Ensure you can order an entire meal. 

The last step of this process involves looking at your menu as a whole. If a customer orders from you, are they able to order a complete meal for themselves or their family? Are they able to order appetizers or sides, an entrée, drinks, and dessert? Do you have menu items in each category that you can deliver?

If, for example, your dine-in restaurant only offered ice cream for dessert, and you’ve eliminated it from your delivery menu for logistics reasons, what will you replace it with? Or, say you offered grilled cheese sandwiches for kids, and upon investigation determined that they arrive at homes rubbery, what can you add to your menu that travels well and is also kid-friendly?

Being able to provide a complete meal gives you more opportunities to increase your order sizes, and increase your check amounts. If you only offer entrées for delivery, there’s no opportunity to upsell. You are limited by the number of people in a household ordering. So if there are four people ordering for delivery in one house, you would only receive an order for four entrées. But by offering options for an entire meal, you have the potential to upsell each of those customers with a drink, a side, or a dessert. 

There’s a big difference between a dine-in menu that is just uploaded to an online ordering site, and a menu that is designed with delivery in mind. By following these steps, your restaurant will ensure that every part of your delivery program is a success.

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