For restaurants, working with third-party food delivery apps is no longer optional. COVID has made it essential.

These apps are vital for helping restaurants drive business while they operate with limited dine-in space. However, because restaurants hand over their customer experience to delivery apps when they drop off an order, one bad delivery can deter a customer from ordering again in the future.

With consumer demand for delivery showing no signs of stopping, it’s crucial for restaurants to prepare their staff to meet this shift. Without strategically engaging with third-party apps, restaurant leaders risk missing out on a critical revenue stream to their survival in the COVID-19 economy. 

Control what can be controlled 

With third-party apps managing the relationship between restaurants and customers, restaurants must do everything possible to control that customer experience. By rethinking their operational approach and leveraging digital workplace tools, restaurants can ensure every order sent out for delivery provides a quality experience to their customers. Here’s how.

Leverage a digital workplace

A digital workplace—an single platform that digitally connects food service staff—lays the foundation for successful third-party deliveries. The platform, which can be accessed via mobile app or on the web, acts as a digital communication and informational hub employees can conveniently access.

The use of third-party delivery services by restaurants introduces task management challenges. Each app typically has specific protocols restaurants must follow to use their app for business. To support employees as they learn to work with third-party apps, a digital workplace can house pre-populated checklists and to-dos for workers to follow and ensure operations run smoothly.

Restaurants can also use a digital workplace to keep workers up to date on procedures required for deliveries as well as other important matters such as COVID-19 protocols and food safety. Features like real-time push notifications and online bulletin boards help restaurants achieve greater visibility in their communication efforts with employees.

Cross-train staff

With many restaurants focusing more heavily on delivery, all employees should be cross-trained in order fulfillment. To distribute training materials, restaurants can use their digital workplace platform to disseminate the courses and track completion.  

For example, if a restaurant adds a new delivery app to their order options, they can upload a training document for employees to learn the app’s system. Another useful training module is publishing a list of dos and don’ts for delivery order preparation to ensure food arrives fresh and well presented to customers. 

Cross-training ultimately makes staff agile. So, if outdoor dining ends up being lighter than expected, servers can still fulfill delivery orders and meet customer demand where it’s needed. 

Rethink scheduling

Predictive scheduling—a scheduling practice based on “fair workweek” legislation that guarantees a worker’s schedule at least two weeks in advance—is already required in many U.S. jurisdictions. However, predictive scheduling can also help restaurants better fulfill customer demand, especially when it comes to deliveries.

To enact predictive scheduling, restaurants must first assess their activity level over time. What days and hours are typically heavy on deliveries? At what time period does in-restaurant dining activity usually match the demand for takeout orders? Evaluating demand patterns can help a restaurant establish an employee schedule that aligns with expected activity.

Restaurants can strengthen predictive scheduling even further by adopting an open-shift marketplace for their employees. By giving access to open, unfilled shifts to workers, managers don’t have to scramble at the last minute to fill empty shifts and risk being understaffed. An open-shift marketplace also works on an enterprise level where employees can take shifts that need to be filled at other nearby locations.

Improve delivery practices with internal communication

To refine third-party delivery app processes, restaurants can use a digital workplace for internal communication.

With established employee communication channels, workers can learn from their peers about best practices for working with third-party delivery apps. Another beneficial communication channel is a manager channel where individual restaurant leaders can exchange tips about running operations for third-party delivery.

Restaurants can also use polls and surveys to garner feedback on third-party apps. The insights gained from these tools can help establishments evaluate how third-party apps are working for their business and what can be done to improve third-party deliveries.

For many restaurants, the use of third-party delivery apps presents a whole new world, but it doesn’t have to be a world they’re lost in. By taking ownership of the pieces they can control in the third-party delivery process, restaurants can set themselves up for success as customers order food using their smartphones during the pandemic and over the long term.

As a dynamic sales professional with experience driving strong solutions for the customers by working hand-in-hand with the product, Will Eadie excels at developing customer relationships and brings to WorkJam fifteen years of deep domain expertise in Strategic Workforce Management, Human Capital Management, and Employee Engagement. Before joining WorkJam, Will held roles at Kronos for 10 years, serving as Director of National Accounts and Director of Retail and Hospitality Sales in the U.S. During his time at Kronos, Will’s leadership enabled his team to significantly exceed sales goals and drive organizational growth. As Chief Revenue Officer at WorkJam, Will is responsible for marketing, sales, forging partnerships, and cultivating customer relationships.

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