CORONAVIRUS AND FOOD DELIVERY: TIPS FOR RESTAURANTS
The Coronavirus emergency has led many restaurateurs to open their food delivery service (or home delivery). Many, however, have already given up. Why? What should be done to make the service work? Let's find out together
The chaos that emerged after the Coronavirus emergency began led to a series of severe doubts on the part of restaurateurs and, ultimately, to a significant crisis. But from a crisis, there is the possibility of a fresh start and, indeed, obtaining advantages. Not for everyone, of course, but for some, yes. So let’s see how you can get over in a short time or with a long-term strategy.
Starting this week, therefore, we begin by giving advice or information that will allow restaurateurs to orient themselves and react to the Covid-19 crisis.
The topics that we will cover will be 4, all based on some methods to face and get out alive from the Coronavirus emergency, namely:
1. Invite customers to offer a “suspended” dinner (aperitif, breakfast, etc.) at your restaurant – that is buying a meal for someone who you don’t know and cannot afford one.
2. Recommend recipes to make at home
3. Continue to communicate
4. Is food delivery convenient or not?
Let’s start with this last aspect …
Food delivery and Coronavirus: a unique opportunity?
It depends. It doesn’t mean, in fact, that with people locked in the house, the right choice for each restaurant is to convert to a home delivery business. This has been stated in the latest data, which do not record growth in turnover and indeed indicate a decrease of 20%, slightly smaller than what had happened at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.
So, no, the fact that people are forced to stay at home is not a possibility for everyone, especially for those who cannot guarantee the absolute safety of their deliveries.
Why isn’t home delivery working?
There are three main reasons:
1. Fear by customers of contracting the virus by delivery
3. Office closures
Fear of the virus
Let’s start from the first point. At this moment, every Italian citizen (even the one who until yesterday stole money from his grandmother’s wallet or, as a millionaire, pretended to be destitute) is a loyal guarantor of the Law. The policeman’s soul emerged.
So can you imagine what the reaction may be to a rider victim of the gig economy who arrives at the front door, perhaps sweaty and without any kind of protection? It’s not science fiction: the riders have already protested through their trade associations. Alessandro Trocino writes, Corriere della Sera: “in recent days [the riders] had denounced the first cases of contagion, explaining that they felt treated like “plague-spreader” and asking for a guaranteed income to stay at home, like everyone else. Four trade union collectives – Riders Union Bologna and Rome, Riders per Napoli, and Deliverance Milano – report the risks they face. And they announce: «We stop. We invite riders to abstain from service for the duration of the restraining orders”.
In short, the trade associations that take care of the interests of these young workers towards home delivery multinationals ask their associates to stop.
But if the riders are afraid, the customers are calm? Much less.
After a few days of confusion, then Fipe and Assodelivery came to an agreement. Here are the points that every restaurant must respect:
Everyone must carefully follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Health.
Restaurateurs shall provide to their staff sanitizing products, making sure they are used as often as necessary and recommend keeping at least a meter of interpersonal distance in carrying out all activities.
Restaurateurs shall define areas for the collection of prepared food for which they assure extraordinary cleaning and sanitation procedures. These areas must be separated from the area intended for the preparation of food.
The pick up of the prepared food and its delivery takes place, ensuring the interpersonal safety distance of at least one meter and the absence of direct contact.
The prepared food is closed in special containers (or bags) with adhesives stickers, staples or other, to ensure maximum protection.
The prepared food is immediately stored in the thermal backpacks or in the transport containers that must be kept clean with sanitizing products to ensure food safety requirements.
The delivery of the prepared food takes place by ensuring the interpersonal safety distance of at least one meter and the absence of direct contact.
Anyone with symptoms similar to the flu shall remain at home, suspend their work, do not go to the emergency room, but contact the doctor or health authorities.
Did these rules help to calm the population? We will see it in the next few days: it is early to say. Especially since there are still two aspects that contribute to stopping home deliveries.
People at home are bored. Most regret the job. Coexistence 24/7 with children and wives/husbands is not easy. So Italians use their panacea: food. And they turn their hands to cooking. The flour, unknown until a few days ago, deserved an entire article on “La Repubblica” of March 16 by Caterina Pasolini. As a result, orders in restaurants are limited. Will they get tired of cooking at home? Maybe …
The real blow to food delivery, especially in large cities, was given by the closure of offices and the consequent smart working. Be careful, however, because it can be an opportunity.
Conclusions: food delivery, yes or no?
The answer to the question would be: “Yes, for some and with specific characteristics.”
Given that Fiepet-Confesercenti has pointed out that only 5% of their associates are equipped to offer food delivery, it is clear that there is space for all restaurateurs to take advantage of it.
Tips for restaurateurs to start deliveries in the time of Coronavirus
Starting the delivery system must be done consciously. The primary guideline is to return to our own territory. This is demonstrated by some cases of neighborhood restaurants that are serving their loyal customers, those who know and trust them. Food delivery, in this phase of the Coronavirus emergency, must be entrusted to micro-distribution and must rely on the local area network.
So, take advantage of the local ties of your business. To do this, you have the tool you are currently using: the internet. Use your website, the Facebook page, and communicate your food delivery initiative. Ask your customers to support you and make them participate in the preparation of food, as well as your new life in the world of home catering. What about the payment? Through the web!
It is also a way of reassuring people. They will trust you, of course, only if you follow the safety and hygiene regulations listed above, the one issued by Fipe and Assodelivery.
And then use your staff for deliveries, leaving out the large distribution: people might know your waiter, not just any rider. Especially since delivering without relying on external companies will be a benefit for you economically: it will cost you and your customers less.
In short, try the food delivery starting from your territory and following the safety dictates. You could be unexpectedly rewarded. On the other hand, what have you got to lose?
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)