When you add delivery to your restaurant business, you’re adding a potentially lucrative new way to serve more customers more often - but also a way to serve up more headaches. The "big guys" have figured out how to use technology to make this piece of restaurant operation profitable and successful...and you totally can, too. Here’s are 7 mistakes, and countless future headaches, you can avoid.
Mistake #1 - Forget to track mileage
Most delivery drivers get paid a flat fee per order in addition to their regular wage. But the IRS looks at all delivery fees as mileage reimbursement. If you don’t want to be liable for payroll taxes on the delivery fees you pay your drivers - you’ve got to keep good mileage records to prove that you didn’t actually pay out more than is legally allowed (in 2017, its 53.5 cents per mile). Be sure you have a system that can track and report on mileage for all your deliveries, regardless of whether you pay drivers by the mile or by the order.
Mistake #2 - Mistakenly Ignore Driver Minimum Wage Rules
Because drivers earn tips, you might think that state & federal “tip credit” rules apply, which allow you to pay less than minimum wage as long as the tips make up the difference. While it’s true that in most states tip credit wages DO apply to drivers, they only apply for the time the drivers are actually on the road. Since most drivers don’t spend their entire shift out on delivery (the average is around 60%), you have to pay minimum wage for the time they are waiting around for an order. A good technology solution makes this easy by automatically calculating payroll based on a “road wage” while out - and a minimum wage while in house, all during the same shift.
Mistake #3 - Let Drivers Carry Too Much Cash
Don’t put your drivers at risk by letting them carry too much cash during their shift! Make sure to have security settings with which you can require drivers to drop cash when it hits a specified limit, or drop cash after each delivery. You really can't underestimate good practices of safety and security.
Mistake #4 - Set Poor Expectations for Customer Delivery Times
We’ve all heard its better to under promise and over deliver. Well, when it comes to delivering a piping hot pizza, you better believe that’s important! Communicating with customers accurately about expected delivery times is key to customer satisfaction. The right POS system lets you easily manage “promise times” - how long customers can expect their order to take. Updating times in the POS system automatically syncs up to your online ordering system as well -- so all customers get the right impression. Even better? See if you can set up email notifications to customers at dispatch - so right about when the customer is getting anxious about their order they’ll receive an update that the driver is on the way.
Mistake #5 - Be Inconsistent with Delivery Areas
Nothing frustrates customers more than inconsistency. If their house was in your delivery zone yesterday but not today, just because the person on the other end of the phone can’t read a map -- well, that’s a formula for disaster. You need to look for a system with features that include a built-in delivery map that puts you in control, with easy delivery areas drawn right on a google map, so all addresses can be verified and consistently enforced whether its in the POS or online.
Mistake #6 - Forget the 2-Liter...or Anything Else!
Let’s face it, your delivery drivers may not always be the ones to count on to remember details. So...take the guesswork out of every aspect of the delivery process. For example, if your drivers are supposed to grab the 2-liter or pint of ice cream out of the walk in on the way out the door, why not give them a little reminder, just to be sure! A delivery-centric POS system will let you set up prompts on any item that drivers have to remember -- or put a custom message on any ticket if it requires plates, napkins, a menu, or any other customer request.
Mistake #7 - Lose Track of Drivers
It's a busy night, customer orders are piling up - and your drivers are...where? At the local 7-11 having a quick smoke? Chatting with some friends a few blocks over on the way back from their delivery? Don’t let drivers out of your sight - technology can help! Reports on average delivery times for each driver allows you to compare performance. And while we may be a little biased, we know of a certain mobile app (Drive with Thrive ) you can install right on your drivers’ phones so you’ll be able to see a map of driver locations at all times.
Delivery can be a complicated part of the restaurant business. Luckily, Thrive POS was made for delivery restaurants - and we’ve got the top features to keep your business delivering successfully. Let Thrive take the hassle out of the details and make delivering to your customers easier for you!