News has pointed to a recent downward trend for food delivery apps, noting they are losing steam following a huge spike in the early days of the pandemic. Earlier this month, a popular D.C. restaurant group pivoted away from third-party delivery apps altogether. They aren’t the first to do this and likely won’t be the last. However, food delivery has become a part of everyday life for many, and restaurant owners may find more difficulty creating their own delivery services in-house, so operators need to find ways to make it successful in partnership with delivery platforms.

According to a recent survey, consumers have high expectations when they order food for delivery. One in four (24 percent) Americans have requested a refund after an unsatisfactory delivery experience. This means a net loss for the restaurant already operating on thin margins. Additionally, 17 percent have posted a negative review of the business online—often, just one bad review can result in fewer stars and eventually, fewer customers.

Some other complaints from consumers include damaged packaging and poor communication, further highlighting the need for restaurants to partner with delivery services who focus on training and retaining staff while focusing on key areas where additional spend would provide more value and reduce complaints.

Training is Key for Both Parties

The current food delivery marketplace exists because of technology. Making sure that delivery workers feel equipped with everything they need to provide a positive experience can make or break how a consumer views a business, directly impacting the bottom line. In the last year, 63 percent of U.S. consumers have experienced at least one wrong food delivery order. When an order is incorrect, late or has missing items, 27 percent of consumers will blame the delivery driver, but 66 percent will blame the business the food items came from. As demand increases in this space, customer satisfaction and loyalty will be directly linked to the experiences provided by third-party food delivery workers.

Restaurants must partner with delivery services by optimizing onboarding processes for independent contractors and streamlining training processes through technology to ensure the success of food delivery. Restaurants must also have a plan in place for quick issues management. For example, if a customer calls with a complaint about an order, restaurants need to be prepared on how to resolve the grievance quickly and efficiently. This can be achieved by providing scenario-focused training which looks at the potential issues which may arise and the steps to resolve them, as well as where they can go for support.

Happy Staff, Happy Customer

Ensuring efficiency and consistency in customer-facing roles is vital to the success of any food delivery company, but so is a delivery workers overall mindset: 91 percent of consumers say that a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to make another purchase, while poor attitude of the worker (31 percent) and poor communication (23 percent) are cited by respondents as having the opposite effect, resulting in a request for a refund or complaint. For restaurants, that means quality ongoing training with upward mobility to retain high performers is crucial to make sure those positive experiences are happening with customers every time. By offering delivery workers the tools and training necessary to overcome some of the major pain points of consumers, delivery platforms retain workers while ensuring a better experience for the customer.

Prepare for any Scenario

Even with a well-trained delivery partner, mistakes are bound to happen, especially at this volume. For restaurants looking to mitigate risks with third-party delivery, packaging is crucial. Spending a little extra here results in a better overall experience. When consumers were asked what caused them to have a poor experience, resulting in asking for a refund, complaining to customer service or reducing a tip, 34 percent noted it was when the packaging to the order was damaged while 57 percent said it was when items were delivered in poor condition. Solid packaging and delivering an order that isn’t smooshed or spilled, while it may seem like an innocuous detail, is actually the key to brand loyalty and good reviews. 

As the industry struggles with labor shortages, gas prices skyrocketing, inflation hitting the U.S. market and increased demand, providing resources and an environment that fosters worker retention will be beneficial to all parties involved. Companies need to work quickly to onboard, train and upskill their employees as the industry is projected to employ more than 50 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2027.

In 2005, Jacob Waern began his career with European media company Modern Times Group, quickly rising to CEO of one of its larger subsidiaries where he scaled the company’s profitability. Since then, Waern has cemented his mark in the world of technology, as a co-founder of Rocket Internet—a company starting and scaling global internet and tech companies—and was the Director of Digital Ventures at international telecommunications and media company Millicom. During his time at Millicom, the idea for eduMe was born out of his collective experiences observing the difficulties in training globally dispersed deskless teams. As founder and CEO of eduMe, Waern oversees the company’s mission to provide the deskless workforce with seamless access to relevant knowledge, enabling people to be successful at work.

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