Ways to Enhance the Customer Experience for To-Go & Delivery

Right now, restaurants have an extremely unique opportunity to connect with customers. In a typical situation, a customer would enter a restaurant’s dining room six out of the 10 times they came into contact with the brand. But, with the current state of the world, restaurants are now able to enter the dining rooms of their customers. 

As restaurants deliver their customer experience directly to the homes of customers, many being first-timers, it will be imperative that they focus on creating a connection that lasts longer than the current situation.

With delivery and takeout as the only options for restaurant customer experience at the moment, restaurant owners must take this time as an opportunity to improve the experience for customers through branding and packaged customer touchpoints. 

Delivery Experience Branding

When a customer orders delivery, they are essentially looking to experience your restaurant, but from the comforts of home. But many restaurants skimp on the delivery experience, just boxing food and drink in styrofoam containers and cups.

As restaurants experience a time where delivery is the ONLY way to connect with customers, the customer experience associated with packaged food and drink is coming into the light for examination.

Think on this: When a customer opens your package at their kitchen island, what are they seeing? How does what they are seeing or touching make them feel? Is there anything other than a box with food in it?

Here, we’re talking about branding. When you’re delivering direct to your customer, you’re eliminating the human element and the environmental element. Instead, you’re really placing the pressure of conveying your brand on the paper goods and packaging that’s moving through the hands of the customer. 

Packaging is a prime opportunity for communicating your message. Use the surfaces of your packages to tell a story, to connect with customers, or to draw them into the brand. If custom-printed packaging isn’t financially feasible, you can use labels or stickers to bring the brand into standard cups, boxes, bags, etc. 

Keep in mind that customers are increasingly demanding to be immersed in an experience. When you don’t have your team or your physical location to create that experience, you’ve got to work with what you have.

Additionally, don’t overlook the opportunity to encourage community through your restaurant delivery experience. The stronger the experience is, the better your packaging connects, the more traction you will get with social media shares, and let’s admit, there are a lot more consumers glued to their phones right now. 

Overall, create an experience. And one that aligns with your brand.

What You Can Do Now

So, how do you create an experience within your takeout or delivery packaging? 

Just as in the physical environment, you have to address each and every customer touchpoint. Take a look at your existing experience. 

Are you missing out on an opportunity to connect by using plain, white cups? Are you missing out on messaging opportunities that could easily be harnessed by popping a note or card into the bag? And is there anything that you can include that will continue to exist in the home, long after the containers are tossed into the recycle bin?

Promotional products, including reusable cups, magnets, reusable shopping bags (or even canvas bags), t-shirts, and laptop stickers can all be easily included in each takeout order to wiggle your brand’s way into the homes of both your most loyal customers and new customers who might be trying your restaurant for the first time.

Also, depending on your segment, don’t forget the kids. Including a kids coloring menu and crayons connect customers to the dine-in experience and keeps kids occupied so parents can enjoy a meal. Win-win.

As mentioned previously, the better your packaging looks, the more customers will snap a photo and take it to the social channels. Make it an experience that speaks to them, and consider including call-outs to share on social. This will promote connecting with your brand through a digital platform that’s literally at the fingertips of your customers.

Finally, you can consider including a coupon for a future order. The coupon could be redeemed in-store or online.

That leads us to the fact that while doing delivery only, you’re likely to be collecting so many more email addresses than you would typically, with dine-in only. You need a plan for following up, getting them to reorder, and getting them to be a customer for life.

Keeping That Connection Going

So, now that someone’s ordered from you once, what’s next? Think about introducing a drip campaign to continue the conversation and deepen the connection. Send a chain of automated emails to thank them for ordering, ask for a review, and provide a coupon.

Ask your customers to follow you on social, and continue to create content that’s valuable and engaging with a goal for them to continue the to-go orders, and visit when the restaurant opens back up for dine-in guests. 

Although these times are tough, this is a true opportunity to build out your takeout or delivery experience and connect with customers right there inside their homes.

And keep in mind, the cost to develop this experience isn’t an expense. It’s an investment in a service channel that is sure to pay you back in spades with increased orders and a stronger connection between the brand and the customer.

Wondering how COVID-19 will impact the restaurant industry moving forward? We’ve written an article that outlines two positive points that will arise as a result of this unprecedented change in the market. 

Finally, if you need a strategic restaurant branding expert to help guide you through the process of creating a bold restaurant delivery experience, give us a call. We’re ready to deliver.