Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday 22nd March that Australian venues will have closed their doors by midday Monday in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19. New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria said they would move to lockdown "non essential" venues.
Under the new stage one restrictions, restaurants, cafes, registered and licensed clubs and licensed premises in hotels and pubs will have closed their doors by midday 23 March. Cafes and restaurants will be restricted to takeaway/delivery and are encouraged to continue operating under the new conditions if possible. This is with the exception of NSW, who have recently allowed for restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars to sell food and alcohol for takeaway and home delivery services.
We understand that not all establishments are in the position to offer take-away and delivery services – but for those that can, see some tips below:
TIME TO CAPITALISE ON FOOD DELIVERY
Food delivery services are growing rapidly because people love the convenience; failing to implement delivery gives business straight to competitors. There’s good money to be made, but not by operating the same way you usually do. Here, some tips to make delivery work for you.
DELIVERY DO IT YOURSELF
Now you can take care of delivery in-house by adding a white-label order system such as OrderUp to your website. You can brand it to look like your own, accept payments and notify customers in the same way as Uber Eats and Menulog do.
You pay a small fee to use the service instead of 35 per cent. Delivery can be made by your own drivers, and there are plenty of people with a motorbike and ambition looking for steady work.
DELIVERY PARTNER OPTIONS
Delivery platforms like Uber Eats, Menulog and Deliveroo are helping stimulate in-store business and delivery. Menulog said it will halve all commission on pick up orders across all 17,000 partner restaurants. Like its fellow delivery platforms, they have also introduced contactless deliveries to help customers and couriers maintain social distancing.
Uber Eats launched a series of initiatives to support independent restaurant owners and operators, including a $5 million stimulus package for independent restaurants across Australia and New Zealand, aimed to enable them to deploy and time promotions.
Another delivery partner is DoorDash, which launched in Australia last year, said it has removed delivery fees on orders from its restaurant partners and is waiving commission fees on all pickup orders placed through its platform.
There are other options available if you don’t want to hire delivery staff. These services include Drive Yello (Sydney and Melbourne) which will do it for you. Deliveroo has also announced a modified system called Deliveroo Marketplace+ with lower fees if you provide the driver.
COST-EFFECTIVE FOOD OFFERING
Be selective with your delivery menu and offer your high margin dishes only. Some establishments are re-designing their menu completely for delivery. You don’t have to offer your whole restaurant menu for delivery, just items with lower food costs. Look into Vegan and Plant-based dishes as these can often have a higher margin. You can also increase the delivery selling prices.
EXAMPLES OF SPECIAL OFFERS AND VALUE ADDS
Three Mills Bakery is offering delivery of weekend brunch boxes that include bread, granola and bake-at-home croissants and bake-at-home sausage rolls. (Three Mills Bakery, Majura Park, ACT)
Glenorie Bakerie telling people to 'Forget the Toilet Paper!' and are selling 'Bake it yourself pies' that last for up to 3 months in the freezer - (Glenorie Bakery, Glenorie, NSW)
This coffee shop is still doing take-aways in store, but also offering a coffee subscription service where customers receive freshly roasted beans every two weeks. Additionally they're selling merch and products via the Instagram shopping platform like books, jugs and grinders (Market Lane, Melbourne, VIC)
This deli is offering vegetable-box subscriptions, take home salads and bulk pantry essentials to help clear out some of your stock or produce (Harvest Newrybar and Harvest Deli, Byron Bay, NSW)
This Italian restaurant selling jars of sugo ($10) and take-home lasagne for two ($30). Available for pick-up, or delivery to surrounding suburbs (Tipico, Winsdsor, VIC)
UTILISE SOCIAL MEDIA
It's never been more important to stay connected with your customer base virtually. Even if you're in a shutdown it's still good to maintain a relationship with your customer base and keep them informed around your business activity. Constant marketing is essential for keeping customers loyal and engaged with your establishment.
See an example here of Kelly's Hotel in Melbourne, using video on Facebook to encourage customers to Order and Pick-Up! Using a bit of humour and connecting with customers to show what they're doing.
An excellent online tool you can use is CANVA. This is a great tool to generate FREE social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content. In times like these, they have a variety of templates you can customise for your own business’ social media – whether you’re online doing take-away or closing temporarily.
There’s a huge variety of images and fonts for you to use for free to create brilliant visual ads or communication. See the above preview of some templates available, and click here to access FREE templates.
Learn more about how CANVA can help your business here
Offer Gift-Cards for customers to redeem in a few months or so – this is a great option to give your customers for when things return to normal again and they can dine-in (or still use as a take-away option).
IMPROVE YOUR KITCHEN PRODUCTIVITY
Most back-of-house operations still use the same equipment and systems that were in place 30 years ago and there’s been a revolution in cooking methods and technology.
When you think about it, it’s rare to see order screens (bump screens) in kitchens. Why is this? The screens allow for precise tracking of orders and cooking times. Once you know these, productivity can be measured and improved. As long as chefs insist on sticking to paper printers, we’re stuck in the ’80s. Modern delivery services can be integrated with your POS, so the production of orders is smooth and organised. It’s time to get more productivity from the kitchen, and do it with less stress
USE ONLINE RESOURCES TO PROMOTE WHAT YOUR BUSINESS IS DOING
Broadsheet is a great resource to promote your establishment on and to see what other venues and restaurants are doing is via Broadsheet, where they are providing live lists of restaurants and venues doing take-away options:
They are also keeping track of establishments which are closing due to the coronavirus, temporarily or permanently. This is another platform to communicate to customers about your situation.
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT PACKAGES
If you’re in a position where you are unemployed due to recent closures, or you’ve had to let go staff please look to see what the Australian Government is doing to help at this time. We are not experts on this topic, as it’s constantly changing.
Here, the Guardian outlines the Government’s plan to unveil an extra $550 a fortnight for the unemployed, wage subsidies for small businesses, early superannuation access, and support to retain workers.
You can also stay up to date by visiting the Australian Government website here, where they provide resources and information around these matters.