Many restaurants quickly shifted to off-premise dining operations to keep serving customers during the COVID-19 crisis. Squirrel has been working with many restaurants to move to take-out/pick-up or delivery only. Whether you are a large multi-location operation or small independent restaurant, Squirrel can help make sure the shift results in a hassle-free and safe experience for both your staff and customers.
This guide outlines some key considerations to make as you make the shift to:
- Ensure the safety of workers and guests
- Minimize costs and mistakes
Setup your menu right, and get the right staff.
- Keep your menu short to the items that you can offer for take-out. You’re already short on staff, so it will be essential to keep the most take-out friendly and profitable options.
Tip: Configure your POS to only show the menu items available for take-out. Create a separate department or repurpose an existing department just for take-out operations. We have some instructions available to assist.
Tip: Keep the menu simple to make it easier to take orders, and be efficient with using ingredients.
- Pick take out friendly food that maintains good food quality, keep the menu short and simple if you decide to offer online ordering
- Reassign workers to take-out/delivery focus, food inventory and purchasing orders for raw food and premade food inventory all change
Setup Online Ordering
The most convenient and accessible way for customers to order is through an online website or their mobile phone.
Tip: Get a separate online ordering website up and running. The website can be a separate URL that you can put directly on your website, Facebook, or social media.
Squirrel and its partners have online ordering solutions that you can stand-up in less than 48 hours with zero up-front cost. These solutions can use your existing Squirrel menus and let you set up online ordering for each of your restaurant locations, whether you have 1 or 100.
Get the Word Out – Advertise
- Let your customers know how they can order from your restaurant: social media, website, e-mail newsletter, sign on restaurant doo, or 3rd party marketplace.
- Don’t forget to change any existing advertising, promos, website info that is no longer correct
- Tell them which methods work best: phone, online, or delivery services? For some smaller restaurants, phone and online with pickup might the most economical due to the high fees that are charged by 3PD services.
Keep it Clean! – Processing and Preparing Orders
- For small restaurants, setting yourself up might be as simple as taking orders over the phone, entering you’re your POS, and sending orders to kitchen using requisition printers that you have today.
- More sophisticated restaurants taking orders from multiple channels such as online ordering and delivery services can use their kitchen automation technology to help consolidate and send orders to the back of the house. These systems using Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) and bump bars to reduce the handling of screens and paper.
Tip: Squirrel customers using QSR Automations’ ConnectSmartKitchen (CSK) can now use ConnectSmart Go to effortlessly manage and streamline off-premise orders.
- Stay Clean & Wash Hands – all employees have to wash their hands frequently when handling orders, even printed cheques, and packaging. Coronaviruses can live on plastic and metal surfaces for up to 72 hours, and on cardboard for 24 hours.
- Use take-out packaging that is appropriate to maintain food quality and ensure cutlery packs, sauces, and napkins exist as an addon to menu item.
- Sanitizing restaurant, stricter cleaning, stricter handwashing policies, distances between kitchen staff, forehead thermometers to test workers.
Identifying Orders for Pickup
When you have a flood of orders, it can be confusing to keep track of all the completed orders or those in progress.
Tip: Kitchen Automation platforms such as QSR ConnectSmart Kitchen, can aggregate various order types (delivery and takeout) into one organized location. Staff can also mark orders as released, arrived, or cancel orders without having to go into the kitchen.
Setup your printers to print automatically print labels that have customer details like:
- Name and address
- Order contents
- Cutlery and condiment labels
- List of contents for the delivery bag (if applicable)
Tip: Use special printers that print re-stick labels that can be attached to the bag of the order. These labels help seal the bag and also avoid the use of staples around food.
Contactless Payments and Pickup
Encourage contactless payments, which reduce points of personal contact and prevent transmission of germs and viruses.
Tip: Use an online ordering platform that provides options to pay online for their order via credit card, Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc.
Tip: If customers prefer to pay for their order at the store, offer contactless payment terminals that accept tap or NFC capable credit cards or mobile phone payments via Apple or Android Pay
Reach out to Customer Base and Promote Gift Cards
Reach out to your loyal customers to support your business and purchase gift cards. This will boost your cash flow, and customers will come back once we get through the current situation.
Squirrel and partners Maegan and DataCandy offer integrated online ordering and gift card solutions that work with Squirrel POS.
Contact Squirrel today, and we’ll help you guide through the process and offer options.