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 it permanently pivoted the business model towards more of a delivery-focused approach.
In India alone, the online food delivery market jumped 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 amongst the competition and make your delivery kitchen a success?Here we’ve listed our top ten tips on how to expand your delivery-focused restaurant in India and secure your position as a profitable brand.
1. Invest in professional photography and visual assets
As all food experts know, “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 and craving your menu items is to tantalize 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.
Remember that your photography portfolio is the foundation of all of your marketing efforts—from your menu and your email marketing to your social media posts. It’s vital to get this step done the right way.
2. Open a cloud kitchen location
With so many restaurants making the transition into the delivery world, it’s important you update your kitchen space alongside your business model. The quickest, easiest, and most efficient way to do this is to open a cloud kitchen.
Simply put, cloud 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 is how many orders you receive, and how quickly you can cook them. Rent will also be far cheaper as cloud kitchens thrive in more residential areas, rather than in prime CBD real estate.
3. Have an optimised, user-friendly website
In today’s digital-first world, every business must have a solid digital presence. Delivery focused restaurants are no exception. A website that is user-friendly, customer-focused and aesthetically pleasing 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 what your signature dishes are 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? Almost never, 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 show up on Google’s search page, which will boost your visibility and your customer traffic.
4. Optimise your pricing
A good pricing strategy is one of the cornerstones of a successful restaurant business. Getting it just right will ensure that you can reach enough customers while still keeping your dishes profitable.
In a cloud kitchen, you’ll have access to all the data and analytics you need to analyse how well your restaurant and dishes are performing in your different locations and make adjustments accordingly. By knowing exactly which are your most popular dishes, as well as 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 in order 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: essentially all of your customers are using 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 in a more traditional way, like handing out informative fliers and leaflets in places where 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, and 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
Half of the world’s population uses email. It’s an established and reliable marketing channel that’s not going away any time soon. In order to get the most out of your paid advertising, social media and organic marketing efforts, you must include email 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 ambassadors and take your business to the next level.
How can we help you?
KitchenPlus is India’s leading supplier of cloud kitchens. To learn more about our smart kitchen solutions or if you have any questions, please contact one of our KitchenPlus Specialists today—we will be happy to help!