Many restaurant brands are instituting a no-contact food prep and delivery process. From line cooks to delivery drivers, restaurants are implementing strict guidelines to protect consumers and their food. But what is involved in no-contact delivery? And, how can restaurants quickly and efficiently update their operations?
What is Contactless Delivery?
Contactless delivery is exactly what it sounds like—food delivery with no human contact. Contactless delivery is increasingly becoming the norm as restaurants try to abide by the COVID-19 social distancing rules. Many third-party delivery services have already adopted no-contact delivery, including DoorDash, Grub Hub, Postmates, and UberEats.
Traditional food delivery does not allow for proper social distancing rules, so the idea behind contactless delivery is to provide food to customers with no direct interaction—observing as much social distancing as possible.
No-Contact Food Preparation
Restaurants are taking it a step further and practicing no-contact food preparation as well. Restaurants are careful not to touch prepared food with their hands directly, instead opting to use kitchen tools like tongs and gloves. Once these touch-free food items have been packaged, they are sealed with tamper-evident labels to let the customer know that no one has touched the prepared product.
Steps for Implementing Contactless Delivery
While it may sound self-explanatory, there are a few steps to take when implementing contactless delivery.
Enable a Way for Customers to Request Contactless Delivery
Logistically, you need to create a way for customers to request a contactless delivery. If you have an app, add a “Leave it at my door” button. This makes it easy for your customers to choose contactless delivery without the hassle of leaving instructions for the driver.
If you don’t use an app, make sure there is a way for the customer to ask for no contact. Online ordering systems can implement a space to leave special instructions. If you take phone orders, train your employees to ask the customer if they would like a contactless delivery.
While you’re at it, enable online payment and tipping options. This reduces the need for interaction and ensures that your staff will still be able to receive tips for their services.
Prepare Your Staff
An influx of orders is good news for your restaurant—but your staff may not know how to handle it. This is especially true if you are new to delivery. Take the time to train them on things like answering the phone and delivering food properly. Ensure your staff knows how to stay safe themselves during the pandemic by reviewing CDC guidelines on proper safety and sanitation guidelines.
Then, take the time to explain to staff what contactless delivery is. This will help them understand why it’s important to your restaurant. Also ensure they know how to stay safe on deliveries—provide them with cleaning and sanitation supplies like hand sanitizer, first aid kits, and gloves for their vehicles to help.
Spread the Word to Customers
If hungry diners don’t know that you offer a contactless option, they may look elsewhere for dinner. So, take advantage of social media! Spreading the word through social platforms, email, your website, and any other place where you communicate to your customers will help your delivery business.
You can also promote your takeout and delivery program with no-contact delivery print like banners, yard signs, and window clings that let customers know as they pass your restaurant you practice safe food handling and adhere to social distancing rules.
Seal Your Packaging with Tamper-Proof Labels
Going contactless is not necessarily enough to ease the mind of worried customers. Help give them peace of mind by employing other methods of sanitation. Tamper-evident labels are a great way to let your customers know that their order was prepared safely—and not touched by anyone afterwards.
Tips for Contactless Delivery
Give the customer a place for special requests. If they don’t want their food left on their doorstep, but rather by the garage, give them a place to tell you.
Encourage online payments. This can be done by offering an incentive—10 percent off online purchases—or even by restricting payment to online only.
Invest in sturdy packaging. Your packaging is the only thing a customer sees when they choose contactless delivery. Make sure it’s sturdy, sealed, and branded for your restaurant.
Train your employees for food handling. Ensure all your employees – including delivery drivers—have received proper food handling training. This is not only important to stop the spread of germs, it is actually required for all restaurant staff handling food.
Remember that every order will not necessarily be contactless. Gated apartment complexes or other situations may warrant regular deliveries. Again, take steps to prepare your staff and ensure they are knowledgeable on how to stay safe.
Abbigail Fox is a Marketing Associate at Dot It Restaurant Fulfillment, a manufacturer and distributor of food safety essentials for takeout and delivery. Dot It is the official manufacturer of SecureIt tamper-proof labels. Follow Dot It online @DotItNation and at https://www.dotit.com/.