Delivery has become an essential marketing and sales strategy for any restaurant today. Consumers across all demographics turn to takeout as a convenient way to enjoy high-quality meals at home. In fact, one recent report predicted that the online food delivery market will grow nearly 10% annually, reaching a valuation of $230 billion by 2027. 

With delivery here to stay, restaurant owners are wondering how to ensure the same food quality in off-premise orders as in their dining room.

Follow along with our guide on how to build your off-premise strategy, Optimizing for Delivery & Pickup

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Here are a few steps you can take to optimize your menu and operations for takeout and delivery food quality.

How Your Restaurant Can Maintain Food Quality

Streamline your menu for profitability

You don’t have to include all of your menu items on your delivery menu — in fact, you probably shouldn’t. Focus on higher-margin items, best-sellers and dishes that can be prepped in advance to ensure an efficient and profitable off-premise operation. 

Feature food that travels well

The last thing you want is for your hungry customers to open up a soggy mess. Be sure to only include food that travels well on your delivery menu. If you’re not sure whether a dish will keep its food quality, the best thing to do is test it. Prepare the item, wrap it in foil, let it sit for 30 minutes, then taste it to get an idea of what customers will experience.

Include mouthwatering photos and descriptions


Upload appetite-inducing photos that provide a realistic representation of every delicious menu item. Give your dishes the spotlight they deserve with natural lighting, garnishes, and experimenting with different angles. DoorDash offers new partners a free food photoshoot with a professional photographer. 

Read Cooking Up a Mouthwatering Menu to learn more about menu engineering for delivery and takeout. 

Invest in the right packaging 

Successful off-premise operations require a steady supply of transport-friendly packaging. Choose to-go containers that prevent your items from spilling or falling apart. Additionally, take steps to ensure food quality, such as placing hot and cold items in separate bags, and piercing hot food containers with a small hole. Finally, package sauces, broth, and dressings separately so your dish doesn’t get soggy in transit. 

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Encourage upsells and add-ons

Increase order sizes by offering modifiers such as protein or toppings to salads, bowls, burgers, and more, and allow customers to upgrade to a larger size. Consider new offerings that encourage larger orders, such as meal kits, family-style meals, or dinner for two. And don’t forget to include profitable menu categories like sides, desserts and beverages. 

With these steps, you’ve done your part. But how can you be sure that your food delivery partner will maintain a high level of food quality off-premise? Here are some of the ways that DoorDash keeps your takeout orders fresh:

How DoorDash Helps Ensure Food Quality 

Meal delivery optimization algorithm

Our engineers have worked hard to develop an algorithm that minimizes the time between a meal being ready and its delivery to the customer. Our dispatch system ensures Dasher efficiency and food quality by factoring in driving distance, food preparation time, customer expectations, and more. Through optimized matching of Dashers to deliveries, our technology ensures more deliveries are completed in less time, consumers receive orders faster, and restaurants have a reliable partner to help them grow their businesses. You can learn more about the DoorDash meal delivery optimization algorithm here

Customizable order protocol

Our customizable order protocol allows you to track all delivery and pickup orders with the technology that’s right for your business. When you sign up for DoorDash, you can choose to receive orders via tablet, email, fax or your POS system. DoorDash easily integrates with POS systems so you can receive orders directly to your register or kitchen, helping to increase back-of-house efficiency. 

Insulated food bags

All Dashers are equipped with insulated food delivery bags that maintain food at both hot and cold temperatures — so your pizza arrives piping hot and your margaritas stay cold. (Just ask Baskin Robbins, or any of our ice cream partners!) Dashers are also trained to carefully pack and secure food during travel and keep their bags clean and sanitized. 

Real-time menu customizations

merchant portal

Ran out of a menu item? No problem. With DoorDash’s Merchant Portal, you can instantly edit your menu to add or deactivate items and modifiers as well as update prices. And if your kitchen is too busy, you can temporarily pause new DoorDash orders from coming in, or mark that your store is busy to dissuade new customers. Just remember to hit resume once you’ve caught up! 

Products and promotions to fit your needs

We know there’s no one-size-fits-all delivery solution for restaurants — that’s why DoorDash offers a variety of services to fit your unique needs, including delivery and pickup, white-label fulfillment, group ordering, catering, and more. We also offer marketing promotions, such as Try Me Free, $5 Off, and DashPass, that you can test to see what attracts the most customers.

Ready to enhance your off-premise dining experience? 


Sara DeForest

Sara DeForest is a Bay Area-based freelance copywriter. Previously, she was VP of Marketing at an early stage startup that was named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies. Prior to that, Sara was a content marketer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Though Silicon Valley is a roller coaster, Sara finds her real adrenaline rush doing standup comedy, and has performed at SF Sketchfest, 208 Comedy Fest, and (most often) seedy dive bars.