Packing up a delivery order at a restaurant in metal foil pan with lid

How to Start Delivery and Take Out for Your Restaurant

Packing up a delivery order at a restaurantTraditional restaurants have no choice but to adapt to the new normal in the wake of Covid-19. State and local governments are shutting down indoor dining for public health. Here in Chicago, indoor dining cannot occur since early November.

To keep revenue flowing, restaurants are converting to delivery and take out only. This is likely not what you envisioned when starting your restaurant business. The bright side is that you can keep your current customer base and keep making delicious food.

Read on to learn how to start a restaurant delivery service. Explore the steps to setting up a delivery service here.


The first thing you have to do is train your staff for delivery and take-out operations. Your current staff was hosting, waiting on tables, and bussing them after a group departs.

Now, they have to take delivery orders, package meals for take-out, and coordinate delivery. Also, you may need to hire delivery drivers. This depends on whether you elect to use a third-party service instead of direct labor.


After the delivery and take-out staff is complete, it is time to train them. The things that your hosts and waiters did well in the past are no longer relevant.

Now, they need to know which to-go containers to use for each menu item. Drivers need to know how to stack orders so the food does not get ruined during transit.

Design and Buy Take Out Supplies

Your inventory of traditional plates, cups, and utensils are no longer usable. You are going to have to transition to take out supplies. This includes paper plates, plastic utensils, and disposable napkins.

Another item that you need is a take-out menu. Some items on your dine-in menu may not make sense to deliver.

Transitioning to delivery and take out only restaurant means a thorough review of the menu is necessary. Once you have tailored the menu for take-out, it is time to print high-quality copies.

The goal is to have customers hang your menu on the fridge or keep it in their car. Make enough menus so customers can hand them out to friends or family.

You want the restaurant’s menu to reach as many people as possible. Do not be hesitant to put a takeout menu in each customer’s takeout package.

Another branding strategy is to put your restaurant’s logo on takeout supplies. For example, you can buy napkins and Styrofoam that display your logo. Some successful restaurants hand out bumper stickers with their takeout orders.

Staging Area

The standard kitchen to dining room handoff is no longer in play. Now, your restaurant needs an area to stage large take-out and delivery orders.

One idea is to buy a logo table. This way, when customers pick up their take-out order, they get familiar with your brand.

Your take-out and delivery staging area can now become the focal point of your business. It serves as the point of sales (POS) location where the customer pays for their order.

Also, it is where the kitchen transfers final food products. Delivery drivers report here to pick up their orders.

POS System

To set up food delivery service, your restaurant needs to rethink its POS system. Taking credit card orders over the phone is not efficient.

Your employees get overwhelmed on the phone with many customers at the same time. Nothing is more aggravating to a customer than getting a busy signal on the phone. If they cannot get through in short order, they will take their business elsewhere.

Instead, your restaurant should get with the times and consider going digital. Our recommendation is to develop a website or mobile app. Here, your customers can put in an order from the convenience of their phone or computer.

This is also a great way to step up your digital marketing game. For customers that download an app, you can push coupons and new menu items to their mobile device.

Also, you can get their e-mail address and phone number when they sign up for an account. With this information, you can text or e-mail news and restaurant updates to customers.

Choose a Delivery Service

You may not want to hire delivery drivers. Many restaurants are electing to hire a third-party delivery service instead. There are many delivery services out there like UberEats and Grubhub.

Using a third-party delivery service has several benefits. These companies have mobile apps with a large customer base.

When they search for food, your restaurant now comes up as an option. Signing up with a delivery service means the potential for new customers.

Also, they relieve some burden on your workforce. The process is as simple as it sounds. Their drivers show up at your restaurant, pick up an order, and deliver it.

At the same time, there are negatives associated with a delivery service. They control the menu items and pricing on their applications. There is a possibility that your restaurant does not bring in the same profit margin on items sold by the delivery service.

Another disadvantage is that your restaurant loses access to customer information. The delivery service company is collecting data that is valuable to your business.

The big decision for your business will be to handle deliveries or hire a third-party service. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

A POS system may be expensive upfront. Yet, it may result in the highest return on investment.

A Recap of How to Start a Restaurant Delivery Service

Only restaurants that are willing to adapt will survive. While in-person dining is not occurring, customers still want to eat out. They are willing to pick up or get delicious food delivered to their homes.

Now is the time to ramp up your delivery services. Taking steps like buying furniture for a staging area goes a long way. If you are researching how to start a restaurant delivery service and need a table, contact us to speak with an associate.

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