How to Succeed in Delivery

The top 5 ways to grow your food delivery business this summer

August 20, 2021

Our eating & lifestyle habits are evolving in summer 2021

We’ve arguably never needed classic long nights, friends, & pool days summer like we do in 2021. After a 2020 summer season that was unexpectedly socially distanced and Netflix-filled,  we’re all itching to spend time with friends outdoors. In our latest guide, we explored some 2021 food & lifestyle trends, including: 

  • Explore more: After a year where the most exploring we did was a walk to the kitchen then back to the couch, we’re looking for ways to broaden our horizons in the form of new places, people, and of course, new foods. 
  • Treat yourself like it’s 2021: Everything is worth celebrating in 2021! Is it your dog’s half birthday? Have some friends over. Has it been 3 months since you got a new job? Host a picnic.

summer food trends

These trends continue to define our summer eating habits & more in multiple ways. Let’s dig into what they mean, how they might impact your business, and how you can take advantage of these trends to grow your food delivery business!

Your customers are looking for ways to broaden their culinary horizons

After being cooped up for almost a year, 63% of customers plan to try new restaurants this summer, and 47% plan to try new foods in general. In summer 2021, we’re going beyond (but not forgetting!) our favorite summer foods like burgers and barbecue. According to a recent report from Yelp, we’re eager to try new things, including:

  • Bánh xèo, a crispy, classic Vietnamese stuffed rice pancake, is being modernized by chefs worldwide. And searched by customers around the world too – review mentions for bánh xèo are up 31%.
  • Rice rolls stuffed with vegetables, crab meat, or spam have increased in popularity, with review mentions rising by 63%, and Yelp expects to see them on plates around the globe this summer. 
  • Seafood towers, overflowing with oysters, shrimp, clams, crab, mussels, and more scream summer, and Yelpers are searching for their new favorite raw bar to indulge at with review mentions up 26%.

summer seafood

And any reason is a good enough reason to celebrate with friends over food & drinks this summer

Not to knock a virtual cheers, but a physical cheers has never felt as sweet as it does this summer. We’re ready to celebrate (and make up for celebrations we’ve missed) with friends and family. This means that when it comes to delivery, customers are looking for options that come with adult beverages – so much so that 53% of millennials report that today, they’re more likely to choose a restaurant if it offers to-go alcoholic beverages. And with 65% of customers reporting that they’re more likely to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and everyday with family & friends in 2021 than in 2020, it’s worth thinking about how your restaurant could play a role in those celebrations. This summer, people are looking forward to picnics, pizza nights, taco Tuesdays, and more.

summer cocktails

Keeping up with the changes in customer behavior and industry trends could help your restaurant optimize to increase orders and sales

There are a few things you can do to take advantage of the changing customer behaviors mentioned above. 

  • Give your customers new food experiences. Same old menu feeling, well, same-old? Based on the insight that people are looking for new foods and restaurants to explore post-pandemic, consider adding new things to your menu to spice it up. When it comes to breakfast, we’re looking for new caffeine experiences like strawberry matcha, lavender lattes, and cold foam iced coffees. In terms of lunch and dinner fare, consider giving your menu a summertime touch with colorful salads, light, fresh dishes, and seafood towers. 

summer salads delivery

  • Become your customer’s go-to celebration restaurant. We’re celebrating like it’s 2021, because, well it is. And we’re looking for more ways to celebrate. Based on the insight that customers are more likely to order from a restaurant if it offers to-go cocktails, consider adding some new adult beverage options to your menu. According to Yelp, searches for unique cocktails like lychee martinis are on the rise, as well as a classic late night beverage – the espresso martini. If you want to be a part of the celebration without adding alcohol to your menu, consider adding creative celebratory kits like picnic packs complete with a summer charcuterie.

Outside of leaning into summer 2021 customer trends, there are a few key things you can do to ensure that your delivery business stays on the sunny side this summer. Let’s dig in. 

The top 5 easy ways to grow your food delivery business this summer

1. Optimize your menu. Menu optimization is a key factor in increasing delivery orders. As you likely know, with Otter, you’re able to track which menu items are (and aren’t performing well. There’s a good chance that during summer, your most popular menu items might be different from your most popular menu items during winter or fall. With our Menu Manager, it’s easy to update your menu across all delivery platforms to match ordering behaviors each season. In addition to considering a seasonal menu, it may be worth refreshing your menu structure to add extras and options alongside each dish. This way, whatever a customer picks for a main, you could provide them with a suggestion for a drink, side or dessert: giving your customers a complete meal, and your restaurant an additional sale. In taking advantage of this technique, you increase your average basket – making your restaurant more profitable.

2. Refresh your food photos and descriptions. Your food photos and descriptions make up your digital storefront. When it comes to online ordering, your first impression isn’t your logo, building’s exterior, or interior ambiance – it’s how your food looks in your on-platform photos and how you describe the taste in a quick description. In order to stand out from the ever growing list of restaurants on delivery platforms, make sure that you’re taking the best approach to shooting food photography. The top 5 things to consider in shooting food photography are light, background, time of day, brand consistency and angle. More on that here

3. Be active on review sites. If your food photography equates to your “curbside first impression” on delivery platforms, your reviews (and responsiveness) equates to your customer service & attentiveness. Responding to reviews is critical in growing your delivery business. Whether a customer is satisfied or… less satisfied… it’s important to take a proactive approach by letting them know you understand their qualms and will find a solution that’s right for them. The more you respond to reviews, the more you know about customer satisfaction – giving you an opportunity to make lasting changes that will help you grow your business. 

4. Take advantage of social media. In summer 2021, we can expect the return of tourism and leisure spending. This means there are more customers to be reached and more money to be made for your restaurant. But those customers can’t order from your restaurant if they don’t know it exists. The key solution here is to take advantage of social media. Make sure that your social feed provides potential customers with any specials, updates, or promotions in a way that looks & feels like your brand as a whole. From there, you can increase your reach by running a social campaign to reach new customers in your area  – both tourists and locals. Resulting in a new food experience for them, and more orders for your restaurant.

5. Simplify your delivery operations. As restaurants continue to reopen for in-store dining, you can expect a surge of customers ready to slide into a booth and enjoy the experience of your restaurant in real life. Even as dine-in returns, experts expect that delivery will continue to grow – great for your bottomline, but potentially a little overwhelming for your team. Protect your staff by streamlining and simplifying your delivery operations with Otter. Having all your orders, order status, and data in a single tablet ensures that your team can spend less time behind the tablet and more time interfacing with customers. 

Succeed in delivery (and dine-in) this summer by taking advantage of the tips & trends above

We’re all trying to make the most of summer 2021 - from new experiences to constant celebrations - your customers are overjoyed that they’re able to experience a never ending summer with your restaurant. Taking advantage of customer trends and ensuring that your delivery business is in tip top shape with the 5 tips mentioned above will ensure that both your customers’ and restaurant’s summer is one for the books. Cheers.

Ready to ensure that your restaurant operations are in tip-top shape for summer? Fill out the form below to get started with Otter today!

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