Best Practices for Using Food Delivery Services

Sometimes your customers need a cookie. And sometimes they can’t go get one. Luckily for them, there are a variety of food delivery services that will bring that cookie straight to their door.

Online ordering and food delivery services have been steadily growing, and bakeries are no exception. As more customers opt to have their food delivered, bakeries have followed suit. Being able to offer delivery services means that you can potentially expand your reach, offer your loyal customers more, and attract new ones.

Delivery is great for the customer, but it may take a little extra work to keep them happy. Here are some best practices to keep in mind.

Update Your Menu

Depending on your bakery, you probably don’t want to offer your whole menu to your delivery customers. Even if it’s utterly ridiculous, you can bet that if your menu includes a three-tier cake, someone will try to order it for delivery.

When you are considering what items to include in your delivery menu think about what would travel poorly. That means anything with ice cream, unless packaged well, is probably out.

If you’re going to be using an outside delivery service, then you want to make sure you cut down on the opportunity for miscommunication. You should give your customers all the options ahead of time so that there is very little need for special instructions calls with questions. That means including extra options like “sprinkles” or “no sprinkles” even if most people choose one over the other (You know what they say about assuming). If it can save you time and a frustrated customer, it’s worth giving your customers more options.

Similarly, you can restrict your menu to only your most popular items so that you can ensure that you will have them in stock instead of needing to make a new batch to fulfill an order quickly. For example, if you offer 12 different flavors of cupcakes, maybe only offer four or five on your delivery menu.

Set Smart Delivery Hours and Area

As you are thinking about setting up the boundaries of your delivery area, it can be tempting to make it broad so that you can encompass the most amount of people, but the quality of your baked goods should take precedence. If your delivery area is too large, you may have an issue with certain confections melting or drying out.

As far as your delivery hours, if you are just starting out and don’t want to deliver every hour that your bakery is open, you may think about testing out certain sets of delivery hours. Think about what baked goods are in the highest demand. If your bagels are to die for, then you may set your delivery hours for the morning through mid-afternoon. Or if your cupcakes are heavenly, the afternoon through the evening might work best.

If all goes well, you can roll out full delivery hours when you’re ready.

Train Your Staff

Set aside time to train your front- and back-of-house team members before you start accepting delivery orders. Everyone that works in your bakery should know what steps to follow when a delivery order comes in. It can be helpful to role-play the process so that your team members can learn by doing.

It’s also a good idea to reserve a specific area of your kitchen for delivery orders so they aren’t confused with in-house orders and your team members can easily identify which orders need to be packaged up for the delivery driver. Think about how terrible it would be to order a batch of cookies and end up with a loaf of bread instead. A mix up like that could cost you a customer.

If you’re hiring your own delivery drivers, make sure they all have proper insurance and that their cars are in working order. You could get into big trouble if they get into an accident on the job.

They should also have some basic customer service training. Even if they don’t spend a lot of time with your customers, they still represent your bakery when they interact with people. A cheerful delivery person makes a much better impression than an incredibly grumpy one.

Market Your Delivery Service

Just like the question involving a tree and a forest, if you offer delivery for your divine cinnamon rolls and no one knows about it, does it make an impact?

In this case, probably not. If you aren’t marketing delivery services then it won’t boost your sales or find you new customers. There are quite a few ways to market your services, including:

  • Social media posts
  • Email marketing campaign
  • Simple signage in your bakery
  • Direct mail pamphlets

For more info on email marketing, read our post on How to Use Email Marketing to Get People in Your Bakery.

However you decide to market, just make sure that people also know that there will be extra delivery fees. You don’t need it to be the most prominent feature in your marketing materials, but it does need to be clear or else you could have some frustrated customers on your hands.

Look for Growth

Once you start using a delivery service, make sure you are keeping track of your progress. The data can tell you where your opportunities for growth and improvement are. Have you gotten a lot of complaints about lids falling off containers? It might be time to invest in better containers. Get comments about your normally moist cupcakes being dry? Maybe that means you need to shrink your delivery area.

Just know that one outlier doesn’t mean you need to jump in to fix every little thing. When you see a repeated pattern, that’s your sign to step in.

Offering delivery gives you a competitive edge over bakeries that might offer similar items. There will always be situations where someone wants something that they aren’t able to go pick it up. And if you are the one that offers to bring them what they need, it can open up doors to a lot more customers.  

Delivery isn’t the only thing that can give your bakery an edge. Get bakery software that will help you manage your entire operation. Schedule a demo of BakeSmart today.

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