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Independent restaurant owners are taking their delivery and takeout strategy into their own hands. And while the restaurant industry continues to evolve and adapt to the ‘new normal’, takeout and delivery continue to generate a large share of total sales.

The pandemic promoted many restaurant sales and operations changes, but according to the restaurants we reached out to in our 2022 restaurant industry trend report, nothing was as substantial as the increase in delivery and takeout orders due to indoor dining restrictions.

In short: if you’re not already driving online order volume for your business (and we mean actually driving it — not just waiting for customers to come to you), then now’s a perfect time.

Top restaurant survival strategies that are predicted to last

Takeout and delivery can be a significant revenue opportunity for your restaurant as well. Based on our Grubhub x Technomic branded industry report, here are some of the top strategies we’ve seen restaurant operators use to bring their takeout and delivery programs to the next level:

1. Increasing the number of menu items available for takeout and delivery

Since the pandemic began, many cities have added more delivery-only restaurants with no brick-and-mortar locations. This means there is a lot of competition for customers in your area, and it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. 

One way you can enhance your delivery service and make it easier for customers to order from your establishment is simply adding more menu items available.

This doesn’t have to mean spending more on ingredients or manpower. Use your delivery analytics in your Grubhub dashboard and use your data to create menu items that your diners would love. 

You can also use 2022 food trends to help you capture your customer’s favorite flavors and position your restaurant as a frontrunner as the seasons change.

2. Increasing the number of third-party service apps independent restaurants work with

The second major trend we found among restaurant owners was that they are working with an increasing number of third-party service providers. These findings echo similar data points on the consumer side, telling us that 90% of surveyed consumers expect consistent or increased usage of third-party providers going forward*. 

In fact, 72% of consumers surveyed report using Grubhub to discover new restaurants*. Meaning that if you’re not where diners can find you, how can they order from your restaurant? 

Not being listed on the biggest app in your region can undercut your ability to reach diners who use those services regularly.

3. Adding self-delivery

Although it’s certainly beneficial to use a third-party delivery service, especially during peak hours, your restaurant might also consider adding self-delivery as an option. 

With Grubhub, you have flexible delivery options! Use your own delivery fleet to fulfill orders placed on the Grubhub Marketplace. Easily control and modify delivery boundaries and fees from your Grubhub for Restaurants account. When you use your own drivers, you’ll pay zero delivery fees.

4. Establishing or enhancing restaurants’ own website for ordering takeout and delivery

When you think about it, a website is the perfect place to market your takeout and delivery service because you can add that information to your menu section, where customers are already looking for what they want to eat. 

You can also use space on your site for any special promotions that are coming up. On Grubhub Direct – our quick and easy-to-use online ordering site builder, you can customize your fonts, colors and images to reflect your restaurant’s story – all for free.

Designed by the restaurant industry for the restaurant industry, Grubhub Direct’s clean, modern and responsive ordering site allows you to connect commission-free with your customers and differentiate your menu from competitors.

5. Establishing or enhancing rewards and loyalty programs for takeout and delivery

While many restaurants already had some kind of rewards or loyalty program in place, others chose to establish one when they began offering takeout and delivery. In any event, these programs incentivize customers to order again by giving them points or rewards for each purchase.

Grubhub has several tools that can help make this a reality. Grubhub’s promotions and loyalty tools allow you to quickly create discounts and offers that target the right customers and scale your business smartly. You can also utilize your owned data on Grubhub Direct to market directly to your diners on new and upcoming campaigns.

Loyalty tools include features like personalized promotions that reward repeat customers and advanced targeting options that let you choose who gets what perks based on data from past orders.

6. Increasing the geographical range where restaurants deliver

Many independent restaurants don’t have the money or resources to hire enough delivery drivers but they still want to increase their delivery services’ range, speed and efficiency. 

Utilizing self-delivery has its financial benefits, but usually you don’t want your own drivers traveling too far out where it becomes not profitable. So when you want to reach hungry diners that live beyond your delivery range, use Grubhub’s Supplemental Delivery services.

Give your staff the opportunity to focus on filling orders and taking care of the diners on-premise. All while Grubhub gets your delicious food to those outside your normal delivery boundaries. 

7. Increasing the number of virtual restaurant concepts restaurants operate

As the world has learned over the past year, virtual restaurants have proven to be a great way to increase profit margins—especially as they allow you to experiment with new dishes and concepts without having to worry about finding space for a kitchen, or hiring chefs and wait staff. 

Virtual restaurants don’t even need their own branding; you can slap on whatever label you want. And if customers seem to be enjoying it, you can always add it in as a regular item at your brick-and-mortar location. Click here to learn more about virtual restaurants and how you can make a new, seamless experience for your customers. 

Enhancing your restaurant’s delivery strategy with Grubhub

Ready to reach more customers with your seasonal menu? Sign up for Grubhub today to get access to a menu consulting team and restaurant experts who will work with you to optimize your menu for online ordering success.

And be sure to download the entire branded report to dig into more of our 2022 online ordering trends and tips for independent restaurant operators.

*Grubhub Restaurant Intelligence Technomic Report 2022