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4 tips for boosting delivery check averages

Photograph: Shutterstock

For consumers, the experience of ordering food through an app or even over the phone is missing one factor critical to a restaurant’s profitability: a server. Without that face-to-face interaction, the art of suggestive selling is eliminated, along with the potential for boosting the check.

However, operators are employing several strategies to help increase delivery check averages. Many of these approaches borrow from time-honored practices that restaurants have employed for years with dining-in customers. Check these four tips below.

1. Set up a mobile order strategy

The first tactic is setting up an ordering interface (or phone script, if orders typically come in that way) that walks customers through the ordering process, suggesting additional courses and additions that might not have occurred to a guest. If barbecue is the star attraction, for instance, position the most popular items—the meats—somewhere midway between appetizers, sides, desserts and beverages, so anyone ordering ends up navigating through other compelling options before getting to the heart of the menu. Pop-up boxes that remind users about what might be missing from their order (“Drinks? Desserts? Plates to share?”) can drive impulse orders.

Good photography and descriptions, if possible, can be powerful. It’s said that people first eat with their eyes, and without the benefit of seeing what other diners are ordering or enjoying the aroma of food being prepared while dining in, the online experience must rely on mouth-watering descriptions and, ideally, images. Make sure they are expertly styled and present the food accurately.

2. Offer and promote premium add-ons

Another strategy is highlighting options for premium add-ons—an extra beef patty on a burger, broiled salmon or roasted chicken to boost the protein content of a salad, artisan cheese or extra toppings on a pizza, etc. And presenting limited-time offers as premiums can provide a welcome break in a menu’s traditional offerings.

3. Menu and highlight larger-size portions and bundled meals

Many delivery orders are for more than one or two people, so offering family-size versions of dishes will automatically drive checks up (and appeal to value-conscious consumers). Even better, creating bundled meals simplifies the ordering process. Bundles that package together appetizers, entrees, sides, desserts and beverages are a godsend for busy families. A “choose one from column A, B, and C” menu should offer enough variety to satisfy a variety of audiences.

Similarly, a “one for now, one for later” approach will appeal to some guests. Grocerants (restaurants within grocery stores) and pizza makers have used this approach, selling already-baked pies as well as unbaked versions that customers can finish off at home.

 4. Encourage sign-up for loyalty programs

Leveraging a loyalty program is a good way to drive checks, especially if there are bonus earnings for heftier orders. Like retailers that promise free shipping for purchases over a certain threshold, promoting a freebie or extra points for checks over a certain amount will appeal to many guests.

Don’t forget holidays and special occasions. Some consumers have gotten so accustomed to having food dropped at their door that they order delivered meals even for big days. Being able to offer celebratory menus, along with more upscale and festive accoutrements, allows a restaurant to capture business on occasions like Valentine’s Day, graduation and retirement parties, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other holidays.

Increasing check averages for delivery and off-premise orders doesn’t have to be complicated. By setting up a mobile strategy, menuing limited-time offers, promoting family-size or large-portion bundles and encouraging loyalty program participation, operators can enjoy greater engagement in their off-premise offerings.

To learn more about Dixie® foodservice products and how they can help with a successful delivery program, visit ServeGreatness.com.

This post is sponsored by Georgia-Pacific, manufacturer of GP PRO and Dixie® brand solutions

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