COVID-19 and restaurants: How chatbots can help you jump into delivery and pickup
Now COVID-19 or Corona has turned into a pandemic, restaurants all over the world are closing their business in an effort to stop the corona outbreak. But closing a restaurant also means significant loss of income and a significant loss of customers. What can a restaurant do to still serve customers and generate revenue? The answer to that question is to go into delivery and pickup.
Why restaurants should stay open for delivery and pickup
Besides business reasons, restaurants should stay open for delivery and pickup because restaurants are an important part of the food chain. Throughout the years, our eating habits has changed significantly. We’ve changed from groceries and home cooking to eating outdoors and ordering delivery or pickup.
Closing down restaurants for delivery and pickup will have a significant impact on our food chain. That said, precautions to stop the spread of COViD-19 and food safety are never been more important.
Five steps to go into delivery and pickup
How to move a restaurant into delivery or pickup? Here are 5 simple steps you can take to make your restaurant open for business.
- Streamline and shorten your menu.
Only sell your top menu items and shorten your menu. The less menu items you have, the easier it is to control a whole new operation in your restaurant.
- Make sure you have proper packaging for delivery and pickup.
Keeping food warm is an art in itself. You have to make sure the food warm but also that it doesn’t get sticky, wett or messed up. Try different packaging and test how your food is holding on in 15, 30 and 45 minutes.
- Decide on a delivery zone and how to transport your orders
Pick a delivery zone that is big enough for you to get customers, but small enough to deliver on time. Think about how you’re going to deliver. A car can travel further but is more expensive than a scooter or an e-bike.
- Decide how you’re going to take orders and payments
How do you want your customers to place orders? Can customers call by phone or do they need to send you text messages? Perhaps they can place an order via your website of social channels.
- Promote your delivery and pickup
When you’re ready, it’s time to promote your delivery and pickup business. You can post about it on your social channels like Facebook Messenger or Instagram and promote it on your website. But if you really want to have an effect, it’s smart to in paid advertising. With Google Ads and Facebook Ads you can micro target even on zip code level to ensure you’re only reaching out to people that you can serve.
How a chatbot can significantly impact your delivery and pickup business
The 5 steps above is a brief overview of the steps you have to take to go into delivery and pickup. You can go in delivery and pickup really quick if you want to. But if this is also a business opportunity for you after COVID-19, keep reading.
I would like to zoom in on item 4, how to take orders and item 5, how to promote your delivery and pickup business and explain how chatbot technology can help you drive your delivery and pickup business.
Regarding step 4, one of the ways you can take orders from customers is via a chatbot. A chatbot is a robot that have a conversation with humans and it can do specific tasks like taking an order or handling a payment. The beauty of chatbots is that they work via messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. This can be a big unlock for your restaurant business next to the more common options like a 3rd party delivery platform or an ordering website. A chatbot can be reached easily and and it works very intuitively. It’s like chatting with friends.
Once a customer has opened a conversation, a chatbot can also send promotional messages like “Hey John, it’s Friday night. Do you want to reorder your favorite pizza again?”. This drives repeat purchases and helps you in step 5, promoting your delivery and pick-up business.
To sum it up, an ordering chatbot can be a real, sustainable revenue driver for a restaurant. At Table Duck, we build ordering chatbots for delivery, pick-up and in store restaurant orders. Before COVID-19, we already saw strong results at our customers, but the need for ordering chatbots has just became bigger.