Taken the dive into delivery? Elevate your dishes using our simple hacks for optimum customer satisfaction.
The chances are you’re used to seeing your dishes travel no further than from the pass to a table in a few short seconds, enabling you to control almost every aspect. But when pivoting your business to offer delivery, a dish will leave your kitchen, disappear from view and it will be minutes, not seconds, before your customer lays eyes on it. Sound like a scary prospect? It doesn’t have to be.
Ensure your dishes travel – and arrive – just as you intended
As part of our #StrongerTogether initiative, in partnership with leading industry title FFT.ie, we’ve outlined some of the key challenges which can affect how well dishes travel – with top tips and insights from some of the best in the business to help you overcome them.
1. Consistency & Texture
Whilst saucy dishes are hugely popular takeaway items, they bring their challenges. Some dishes, particularly the likes of pasta, can clump or separate as the sauce dries out. Pasta may also continue to cook when packed in an insulated box, or absorb the sauce during delivery thus making the dish dry. Dishes that are deep fried or intended to be crispy can also be a challenge, as condensation can cause them to go soggy.
Pack pasta and sauce separately, allowing the customer to mix them themselves before eating. Use convenience ingredients containing starch that will keep sauces stable – if you would prefer, add them to your scratch-made dishes to add stability. If serving food that is deep fried or should have a crispy outer, pack loosely and pierce the packaging to allow condensation to release, maintaining texture.
2. Temperature & Visuals
Due to temperature changes during transport, the consistency of dishes like soups and stews may change, making the dish look less appealing. Fresh vegetables and salads may not arrive in peak condition due to the transfer of heat during transport.
Use ingredients that contain modified starches in order to maintain the consistency and texture of your sauce. Also, try using pickles or root vegetables that withstand heat better and pack salad dressings separately.
Apart from ensuring the quality of your dishes, transportation can add its own challenges. Liquid-based dishes can spill and ruin the dining experience if not packed properly.
Ensure you’re using leak-roof packaging to avoid dishes spilling during transit. Have the packaged wrapped and sealed too if necessary. Pack hot and cold items separately too – this will help prevent wilting.
Case Study: Pickle Restaurant, Camden Street, Dublin 2
We spoke to Sunil Ghai, founder of Pickle Restaurant on Dublin’s Camden Street, about why and how they pivoted their business from a sit-down only operation to a purely takeaway and delivery service.
Sunil Ghai, Pickle Restaurant, Camden Street, Dublin 2.
“Initially when COVID-19 happened, it was never our thought to open Pickle for takeaway. We thought the restaurant might be open again after the two weeks. But the way it spread and then the lockdown was enforced for longer, we decided to do it.
“We have reduced a few dishes out of the menu as I didn’t want to bring some dishes into a takeaway. But all the dishes we are offering are restaurant-style. All the condiments you get on the table in the restaurant come with the dishes too. People are sending photos to me of how they lay out the table etc at home. It’s really lovely.
“It’s a contactless operation, everything is paid online or at the door – customers don’t even touch the card machine. How it works is that people order online or on the phone and when they come to the restaurant we are waiting at the door. We are always at the door. We call them by name and tell them what zone to go to inside the restaurant and wait. In the front part of the restaurant, we have created zones 1, 2 and 3 and we only let three people in at a time, one in each zone. They come into their zone and take the food at the counters we’ve created and leave again one-by-one.
“We have kept the number of staff working very tight. The chefs are not allowed to meet the suppliers or anything. I do that. Everything in the kitchen and restaurant has been sanitised.
“We are also doing deliveries within a 5km radius of the restaurant. We’ve had an amazing response from this. I had a call from someone in Tallaght this week who was sad that she was outside the 5km radius because she loves Pickle so we agreed to go as far as we could and she drove 2km and it worked and she was able to collect her food!
“In our takeaway in Greystones, we are also operating contactless now. It was always a takeaway but we wanted to keep social distancing so we added a table outside the shop. You give us a call and tell us what docket number you are and we bring your food out to the table for you to collect.”