As people in communities all over the world adjust to social distancing and shelter-in-place orders from local and state governments, restaurants are dealing with one of the biggest challenges the service industry has ever faced. But, with every obstacle comes an opportunity to evolve your business and create steady and reliable revenue streams.

Adapting to a delivery only restaurant is easier than you might think. Here's a step-by-step outline of everything that managers and owners need to know about running successful delivery-only restaurants: 

Food delivery is in high demand 

Even before there was a push for people to stay at home and self-isolate, food delivery has seen a substantial increase. Since 2014, food delivery has grown by 300% compared to dine-in orders. And industry pros expect the numbers to increase exponentially. Both your loyal customers and potential new ones might not be allowed to dine in your restaurant, but they still need to eat. 

If you make the transition to delivery-only food service, you’ll be allowing potentially thousands of customers - depending on the size and scope of your restaurant - to enjoy delicious food in the comfort of home. When you switch to running a delivery-only restaurant, people struggling with self-isolation will appreciate being able to make the most of their time spent #TogetherAtHome.

There are many reasons why people might not be able to cook for themselves, especially with the common inconvenience of long lines at grocery stores. Also, some people can't leave their homes due to self-quarantine guidelines from their healthcare providers. Whatever the reason for ordering lunch or dinner takeout, delivery-only restaurants fill a crucial need for communities all around the globe. 

Create an impressive website & menu

If you already have a professional-looking website with SEO content and an easy-to-read menu, then good for you. You’ve already made the essential step for boosting your online presence and getting more eyes on your restaurant and menu. For restaurants that don’t have a website and menu, we recommend creating one - and fast. With more people surfing the web than ever before, it’s vital that your restaurant is well-represented online.

Consider the fact that 90% of customers conduct online research when choosing a restaurant - more than any other business. That’s a huge number of potential customers you don’t want to miss out on - so make sure that a top-notch website and menu is a top priority in your delivery-only restaurant business plan.

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Partner with a third-party food delivery app

When you partner with DoorDash, which has the largest market share in the food delivery market, you'll be able to instantly reach millions of people from a wide range of demographics - including baby boomers, millennials, and many more. If you’re running a delivery-only restaurant on a small or medium scale, you probably don’t have the marketing budget that large global companies like DoorDash have access to. Further, partnering with these foodservice apps allows you to take advantage of their built-in marketing tools.   

Make the ordering process easy & convenient

A great way to make food delivery orders as easy as possible for customers is to display your “Order Online With DoorDash” button in a prominent location on your optimized website. You can also increase your sales by funneling new and existing customers to your DoorDash Merchant listing, another way to make ordering from your restaurant an extremely convenient and straightforward process.  Another strategy to let your customers know how easy it is to order is through your Google Business Listing. It is a free service offered by Google, which also helps inform potential customers when you include an order with the DoorDash link. 

Give people more options

As a restaurant offering delivery-only food service, you also have more freedom to be creative with menu options. Some people actually enjoy cooking but don’t have the means or patience to go shopping for ingredients at the grocery store. This is probably why meal kit companies are seeing a surge in subscriptions. Now that restaurant managers must figure out how to keep their business running without dine-in customers - which has traditionally been their main bread and butter - providing meal kits as another menu option can be an easy way to create additional revenue streams. 

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Including meal kits in your delivery-only restaurant business plan will be easy, especially since your kitchen staff already has access to all the ingredients. Have staff measure out the correct portions and then package the kit to travel well for delivery. If you have enough meal kit orders, you can have your team put together step-by-step cooking instructions that any cook - from beginner to expert - can easily follow. These steps will keep more of your staff on the payroll, which will benefit the economy and also ensure that you have a dependable team of dining room servers ready for action when the industry returns to normal. 

Partnering has advantages

When you partner with DoorDash, you get access to state of the art tools that will help streamline your operation and thrive in any economy. Manage every order from initial order placement and keep track of them through pickup and delivery with the Order Manager app. You can also customize your menus, payments, bank account information, operating hours as well as manage deliveries with the easy to navigate Merchant Portal.

Place yourself in a stronger position when you consider the wide marketing reach Doordash has compared to any other third-party food delivery app. Are you ready to jumpstart your delivery-only food service? Sign up with DoorDash for Merchants today.

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Andrew McCarthy
Content Lead

Andrew McCarthy is the Senior Content Lead for B2B Marketing at DoorDash (both Merchant and Work divisions) where his mission is to help merchants grow and to make work delicious! Originally from Melbourne, Australia, he has 5 years of experience working in the on-demand delivery space across the United States, Canada, and Australia. When he’s not managing the incredibly talented content team at DoorDash, you’ll find him dining at the hippest local restaurants or ordering ramen from the comfort of his couch.