There’s no question that COVID has affected every industry worldwide in one way or another. In the case of the Food & Beverage sector, the change has been significant, to say the least. Not only did social distancing restrictions—and overall fear of contagion—bring the dine-in restaurant business to a screeching halt, but also the food delivery business model to expand. In India alone, the online food delivery market grew by 50% in just one year—from $2.9 billion in 2019 to $4.35 billion in 2020–and is only expected to escalate from there. This is definitely the era of the delivery-focused restaurant and seems to be the way of the future. And while this is good news for delivery kitchens, the reality is that delivery is more competitive than ever.
So, what can you do to stand out from the competition and make your delivery kitchen a success? Here we’ve listed our top ten tips on how to expand your food delivery business in India and secure your position as a profitable brand.
1. Invest in professional photography and visual assets
All food experts know that “you eat with your eyes first.”
This means that the #1 selling tool for any food-related business is having amazing visuals of your food. The quickest way to get a customer’s mouth-watering craving for your menu items is to tantalise them with first-rate photos and visuals.
If you want to do this yourself, it’s important that you have some photography experience with the right lighting and photo editing equipment. Do not cut corners here! If you’re unsure about your level of expertise, hire a professional food photographer. The initial investment to secure top-notch photos that will more than pay off in the long run and will definitely help expand your food delivery business.
Remember that your photography portfolio is the foundation of your marketing efforts—from your menu and email marketing to your social media posts. It’s vital to get this step done the right way.
2. Open a CloudKitchens® location
With so many restaurants making the transition into the delivery world, you must update your kitchen space alongside your business model. The quickest, easiest, and most efficient way to do this is to open a CloudKitchens® space.
Simply put, CloudKitchens® delivery kitchens are spaces designed to maximise kitchen efficiency and pump out as many delivery orders as possible – without the worry and hassle of dine-in customers. By focusing purely on delivery, the only limits to the amount of food you can sell are how many orders you receive and how quickly you can cook them. Rent or license fees will also be far cheaper as CloudKitchens® delivery kitchens thrive in more residential areas than prime CBD real estate.
Read more about choosing the right location: here
3. Have an optimised, user-friendly website
Every business must have a solid digital presence in today’s digital-first world. Delivery-focused restaurants are no exception. A user-friendly, customer-focused, and aesthetically pleasing website is one of your most important business tools for boosting traffic and food orders.
Remember that your food needs to be the star of your site. This means including a well-designed and continuously updated menu that’s easy for the user to find. Clearly highlight your signature dishes and any current offers or promotions so that customers are hooked from the beginning. All it takes is one click for them to leave and jump over to one of your competitors!
The most effective way to get the most bang for your buck from your food delivery website is to make SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) a top priority. It’s the only way to get your website to the top of search results.
Think about it: How many times have you clicked through to the second page of an online search? Rarely, right? In fact, page one search results receive 95% of all online search traffic. This is why SEO is so important.
Claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing is another smart move. This will make your food delivery-focused restaurant appear on Google’s search page, boosting your visibility and customer traffic.
4. Optimise your pricing
A good pricing strategy is one of the cornerstones of a successful restaurant business. Getting it right will ensure you can reach enough customers while still keeping your dishes profitable.
In a CloudKitchens® delivery kitchen, you’ll have access to all the data and analytics you need to analyse how well your restaurant and dishes perform in your different locations and adjust accordingly. By knowing exactly which are your most popular dishes and which are making you the most money, you can get a pricing strategy that promotes long-term sustainable growth for your restaurant business. You should also consider adjusting prices based on location. More expensive neighbourhoods have higher rents, and prices should reflect this to maintain profitability.
5. Engage with customers through social media
India’s annual growth in active social media users has reached over 31%, with more than 78 million new users added last year in 2020.
So think about it this way: All your customers use social media!
What better way to engage with your customers than through targeted messages on Facebook, amazing food images via Instagram posts, and by attracting influencers who love your food and will get their fan base to love it too?
Social media is a powerful tool that every brand needs to have in their business-building toolbox.
6. Don’t ignore offline marketing strategies
We’ve established that every delivery-focused restaurant needs to focus on digital marketing, but that doesn’t mean you should brush off guerilla-style, offline advertising methods.
This means connecting with customers more traditionally, like handing out informative fliers and leaflets in places your target audience is likely to frequent. Physically distributing discounts and promotional offers branded with your delivery kitchen can still grab attention and produce profitable results.
7. Ask your customers to leave reviews
Running a successful food delivery-focused restaurant means understanding the importance of reviews. The more positive reviews your restaurant has, the greater online reputation it has – meaning more customers and more growth for your business.
Online reviews are on just about every platform your business has a presence on. The most important are the delivery platforms you sell on, Google, and other food blogging sites.
8. Cultivate loyal customers
Customer loyalty is a business metric that every successful food delivery business must master if they want to achieve long-term success. With a delivery restaurant, you’re less likely to win customers over by being friendly and serving them with a smile. Instead, prioritise consistency and quality in your dishes, improve your restaurant based on consumer feedback, and maybe throw in some extra sauce in with their order to make them feel valued.
9. Include email in your marketing mix
WhatsApp has gained traction and established itself as a reliable marketing channel with 487 million Indians using it. In order to get the most out of your paid advertising, social media, email, and organic marketing efforts, you should include WhatsApp as an awareness and traffic driver for your delivery kitchen.
10. Focus on your unique selling point
The most successful restaurants don’t try to be all things to all people. What makes them stand out is how they position themselves in the market as being the best. Maybe that’s having the widest variety of vegetarian dishes or offering the freshest ingredients of any fast-food chain in town.
Whatever it is, make sure you understand why people love your food and what exactly keeps them coming back. If you’re making food that people love, they’ll naturally become your word-of-mouth brand influencer, bloggers, and ambassadors and take your business to the next level.
How can we help you?
KitchenPlus is India’s leading supplier of CloudKitchens® space. To learn more about our delivery kitchen solutions or if you have any questions on how to expand your food delivery business, please complete the form below and our specialist will reach out to you shortly.