How to Optimize Your Menu for Delivery

How to optimize your menu for delivery

Food delivery is big business. The industry’s been growing at a steady pace and is expected to yield a worldwide revenue of US $164 billion by 2024. Today, 60% of all dining experiences are off-premises - a percentage that is believed to only increase. Needless to say, offering delivery is a smart move for restaurants of all sizes.

But how can you make sure your at-home food experience meets your customers’ expectations? Having food delivered at home is a whole new way to experience meals, so it should never be compared to in-restaurant dining. One surefire way to attract and satisfy your customers is by ensuring the food you are delivering is delivery-proof.

Don’t be afraid to trim your menu

A dish may be your best-seller on site, but that doesn’t mean it’s adaptable for takeaway or delivery. Ask yourself if this dish travels well; perhaps its ingredients contain too much moisture, or maybe its presentation cannot be recreated in a to-go box?

When you’re starting with delivery, it pays off to be critical when it comes to selecting your delivery menu. Here are a few questions that can be helpful in deciding whether a specific dish makes the cut:

  • How long does it take before the meal gets cold or soggy?
  • Can the food be packaged well enough in a way it doesn’t get messy or scrambled?
  • Can you replace certain ingredients that lose texture by others that won’t?
  • Can your kitchen staff handle preparing additional delivery orders in a consistent and quick way?
  • Does it make sense financially to offer this dish for delivery (are your margins high enough)?
  • How long does it take to prep this dish?

Keep it short (and simple)

Successful online restaurant menus on third-party food ordering platforms are usually between 15 and 20 items long. It’s important not to overpower your hungry customer, who probably already has a very specific type of food in mind. Don’t forget to break your menu down in categories like starters, mains, desserts, sides and drinks. That way, customers browsing your menu can quickly scan their options.

Another tip for creating a delivery-proof menu: think about the order your offerings will be appearing in. Your best-selling dishes and recommendations should be at the top of the page - ready to be ordered with a single click after landing on your restaurant page.

Make it look good

It may sound obvious, but many restaurants are so involved with setting up their operational delivery flow, they forget to spruce up their menu with good pictures and descriptions. People - especially hungry ones - are very sensitive to photos of good-looking food. Today, you don’t even need an expensive camera to make mouth-watering food shots. Just use your common sense and don’t use unrealistic filters that take away the attention from your food.

Next to a visual representation of your dish, a clear yet concise description is crucial to win over the customer, as well. This is where you can get creative and set yourself apart from your competitors. You can give your dishes original names and/or descriptions and let your brand personality shine through!

Understand your delivery time windows

In order to successfully launch a delivery business, it’s essential to understand your timings. You need to know how long it takes to prepare and deliver each order. More importantly: you should thoroughly understand the time frame you have to ensure you can deliver a high-quality meal that represents your restaurant well.

If delivering meals to certain areas or city districts means excessive waiting times of over 40 minutes, it’s better to refrain from offering delivery in these regions at all. Stick to a healthy radius around your restaurant and consider the impact on your average delivery times and customer satisfaction rate if you don’t.

You snooze, you lose

Once your menu is up and running, you can’t just rest on your laurels. Restaurants should be updating their menus according to customer feedback and sales, as well as regularly test with new menu items to keep treating clientele and attracting new customers.

On a side note, it’s vital to thoroughly monitor your inventory. If a dish is sold out, your online menu(s) on third-party delivery platforms should be updated accordingly - and as soon as possible. Investing in delivery management software like Deliverect could save you a lot of time and effort. 

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