As a restaurant, it’s important to keep up with the changing industry trends to grow your profit and make sure you are reaching as much of the market as possible. One of the ever-increasing trends is offering food delivery. In fact, it’s estimated that by the year 2020, 70 percent of restaurant traffic will be from outside of the restaurant. Many people are choosing their meals based on ease, convenience, and speed, but that doesn’t mean that they should suffer quality and taste for those things.

At the 2015 National Restaurant Association show in Chicago, the first ever Food Delivery Pressure Test was conducted to see how four different types of food establishments, from fast food to five-star restaurants, handled their food delivery. The restaurants all struggled in areas like late delivery, soggy food, and leaking packages. While it may be disheartening for restaurants wanting to use delivery services to see these poor results, it does give you a good idea of what areas you can focus on to ensure quality delivery.

If you decide to use a delivery service to get your food to your consumers in their homes, one of the most important things is to ensure that when they receive their food it is just as good as if they had ordered it in the restaurant. Here are three ways you can ensure your customers ordering via delivery service receive a quality product.

1. Focus on the food’s packaging

One of the biggest issues with food delivery is food arriving soggy, packages leaking, and food losing its temperature. All of these issues can be solved by ensuring that food is packaged in the proper containers for delivery. If you have a delivery with a hot entree and a cold salad, don’t put them next to each other. Keep foods from reaching unsafe or unsavory temperatures by using separate packaging and separate delivery bags. This will also help ensure that the food delivered is of restaurant-level quality.

You might think that having fewer packaging options on hand will save you space and money, but using improper food packaging can make orders looked underfilled or lead to soggy foods. Having a variety of package sizes and types on hand helps this issue. Use the smallest package size possible so the food fills it fully. Also, make sure that you have packaging meant for all types of food including fried, wet, hot, and cold, to ensure the highest quality upon arrival.

2. Make accuracy a priority

Accuracy is important for sit-down customers, but it is even more so with delivery orders. It is not as easy to correct an incorrectly fulfilled order by just running back to the kitchen when it’s delivered to someone’s door, so getting it right the first time is paramount to avoid disappointment. Here are some ways you can ensure accuracy for delivery orders:

  • Be sure your order entry system is accurate. That includes both the Point of Sale (POS) software as well having a staff that is well-trained in completing tasks correctly the first time.
  • Check for both accuracy and quality along the line of production before the food reaches the customer’s hands. Make sure everything is present including any sides, bread, dressings, or salads that should be included.

3. Prepare a delivery menu

Unless your restaurant is already designed purely for take-out business, you may want to consider a narrowed-down menu for delivery orders. Some of your regular menu items may not transport easily, or are best eaten right out of the kitchen. Even if an item is a popular choice, you may not want to include it on your delivery menu if you know it will lose a lot of its quality by the time it reaches the customer. You might need to come up with some new options for a delivery menu if too many of your regular entrees don’t make the cut.

Also, have paper takeout and delivery menus available so your in-house customers can take them home. Keep them by the door and on your restaurant’s website, and even consider sending them out in the mail for an excellent marketing tool.

When you start using a delivery service for your restaurant, you add a new source of revenue, but you also add a new level of complexity to manage. While a delivery service does come with its challenges, you might find that there’s an entirely new group of customers you haven’t reached yet until you start offering food delivery. With the right quality controls in place, you won’t have to worry about unhappy customers and incorrect orders going out the doors of your restaurant, which will make things more profitable for you.