E&S that DELIVERS: Setting up your kitchen for delivery business success.
There’s no doubt about it: the delivery trend has exploded over the past few years. In fact, a whopping 61 percent of millennials say an important factor in choosing where to eat is the availability of takeout or delivery options.
With large appeal to younger consumers – not to mention the increasingly frenetic pace of many office workers’ schedules – delivery is quickly becoming a staple of the masses. And with more than a few third-party services like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Postmates thrown into the mix, vendors of all stripes are dreaming up new ways to ensure their kitchens keep up.
Optimizing your kitchen for the delivery boom
As a restaurateur, you’re well aware that if you’re not prepared, delivery can throw your operations for a loop, potentially causing labor issues, space issues and too much variance in food quality and consistency.
So what can your business do to ensure you’re not caught off-guard by emerging delivery trends? Below, we explore some supplies and strategies that can help you implement or streamline your delivery operations.
Customize your delivery menu
One way to ensure your brand strength is extended to your delivery process is to create a delivery menu that consists exclusively of food items that have been proven to withstand the challenges of transportation.
Typically, operators adding delivery to their offerings conduct quality assurance tests for how well each of their items stands up to the delivery process. This includes everything from separating ingredients to fine-tuning holding time to determining how long delivery usually takes. If a menu item does not pass the quality test, it should not be included on the delivery menu.
Of course, it will take time to get the balance of your delivery menu just right. And based on your menu tweaks, you might need to add new or different equipment and supplies to support your new (or more frequently ordered) menu items.
Streamline your prep line
With delivery services at a premium, investing in a separate prep line — and even an additional refrigerator and hot box — can pay off. Whether your space is small or large, there are a number of shortcuts you can take, including adding shelves to your prep line to hold all of your necessary prep equipment, or installing under-counter refrigeration units for additional cold storage.
Never underestimate the need for speed
Remember, adding a delivery function means you’ll be serving two different sets of customers with the same kitchen at the same time. Updating your equipment can help speed the throughput and lower the labor cost. For instance, high-powered combi-ovens and blast chillers can enable increased speed in your delivery process.
Additionally, in quick-service and limited-service applications specifically, more compact, “cleaner” technologies (ventless fryers, induction cooking) mean employees can more easily multitask during food prep. Look for automated cooking equipment that allows employees to “set it and forget it” (quick-cook, pre-programmed combi-ovens that turn off automatically, for example) so that they can easily move between jobs.
Separate your holding areas
When it comes to delivering a quality food experience, freshness is key. And food holding equipment is one secret ingredient that can greatly expand your kitchen’s delivery capabilities and decrease waste.
Investing in holding and cooling areas with high-quality insulation and temperature control for your delivery food not only eliminates potential confusion; it also regulates the environment for specific foods faster, and with more precision — ensuring a quality delivery experience.
And to help avoid potential traffic issues caused by third-party delivery services, consider creating a separate delivery pick-up space (the bar area often works) with space-saving, under-counter hot- and cold-holding units. This way, food is available quickly, and without disrupting service in the dining area.
Another simple delivery hack? Consider creating designated parking spaces for delivery and pick-up orders to keep your to-go traffic flowing.
Categories: Restaurant (independent)