Food operators quick to pivot to delivery & takeaway

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Food operators quick to pivot to delivery & takeaway

Food operators quick to pivot to delivery & takeaway

News of a second lockdown came as a shock to the system to the entire hospitality industry, a real nightmare on the 'scariest day of the year'.

It's certainly dire times, but operators are better placed now than they were during the first lockdown, in terms of being more prepared and able to adapt to different business models. "Operators that pivoted to delivery and then pivoted back to dine-in can dust down the operating models that stood them in good stead six months ago", comments Peter Backman in BSA's Weekly Briefing Report. Many restaurants, pubs and quick service businesses are already advertising their delivery, takeaway or 'make-away' (DIY meal kits) services, ahead of the imminent lockdown.

As the popularity (and necessity) for delivery and takeaway grows, some operators are launching virtual delivery brands (online-only concept) to take advantage of the market conditions in an agile and highly adaptable way. In the last month, Wagamama's operator, The Restaurant Group has launched two virtual delivery brands, Bao Now and Puddo, Propel advises.

However, as companies quickly shift to delivery & takeaway, there is certain risk involved in getting it right for the customer. Consumers are generally very supportive of the hospitality industry at the moment, but they may not necessarily be more forgiving when mistakes happen, so it's important to monitor the customer experience and correct any issues in standards and procedures as they arise.

The problem is, whilst most operators now actively measure guest experience at their premises in some way or another, whether it's guest feedback, surveys or mystery visits, not many operators are aware that measuring remote experiences is even an option. We would argue that as delivery & takeaway services grow in demand, measuring the customer experience alongside it is becoming increasingly important. Our clients Pret a Manger, wagamama, and Brewdog, among others, have recognised the value of tracking guest insights, wherever they might be, and are monitoring guest experiences for takeaways and collections with our Delivery Audits.


The importance of measuring remote experiences

Whether working with delivery partners, delivering own product, or just offering takeout, once the food leaves the premises, operators lose visibility of very important factors that are key to determining whether or not the customer will order again. How does the brand come across during the delivery; when customers 'unwrap' their orders, is there a 'wow' factor, or are they left disappointed by the branding or presentation; what is the quality of the food? These are things that can, and should, be monitored.

There are various touchpoints along the customer journey, starting from the placement of the order to the customer tucking into the meal that can either enhance the experience, or potentially ruin it. For example, consumers great take notice of the little things, and based on comments gathered from our Delivery Audits, one of the most common things customers like to point out is a missing garnish. Seemingly trivial, but if a customer has come to expect a dish presented in a certain way, this could indeed take away from the overall enjoyment of the experience.

Another issue that really rubs customers the wrong way is when their food is delayed - this is often accompanied by food getting cold on the way, which just exacerbates the problem. Our consumer research shows that 58% believe that if food arrives late, it is “the responsibility of both the delivery company and restaurant”, so there's potential for reputational damage every time there's an issue with delivery.

Monitoring remote experiences can identify all the little (and big) issues that are contributing negatively to customer satisfaction and help businesses improve brand standards, consistency and reputation.


Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty = grow revenue

Improving the consistency of brand standards will lead to an increase in customer overall satisfaction and loyalty, turning your customers into fans. Loyal customers will boost revenue in two ways, they will place more orders, and they make recommendations to their friends, family and colleagues, which in turn will grow your business.

The results are tangible, as evidenced by a study we conducted with a number of clients, as we discovered that in the 12 months following implementation of our programme:

  • The overall guest experience rating increased by between 5% and 10%
  • NPS (Net Promoter Score - customer satisfaction benchmark that measures how likely your customers are to recommend your business to a friend) increased between 3 and 8 points.
  • This had a net effect of delivering between 1.5% and 4.9% to their bottom line over and above the expected increases.


HGEM Delivery Audits

HGEM recognised there was a gap in the market for a tool to help operators gain more visibility in remote experience settings and developed a product to help monitor the guest journey from start to finish, ensuring brand standards are met and the customers are left delighted.

With our Delivery and Collection Audits module, businesses remain in control even when the product leaves the physical premises; improving consistency, strengthening the brand-customer relationship and increasing the likelihood of repeat orders. Our clients that implemented the Delivery and Collection module have also seen an increase of up to 16% in ratings on delivery apps. Read more about the key features of the module here.

As we've helped many clients improve their delivery/collection offering, we're happy to share our knowledge and offer advice to any food operators, free of charge. Do get in touch: hgem.com/contact-us

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