The novel Corona virus, Covid-19, has created havoc in the restaurant industry and this is putting it mildly. Many had to adopt really quickly from relying on dine-in business to food delivery and take out. Some parts of the world were well on their way adopting online delivery technologies such as in the Middle East but other parts of the world such as in Canada were not well prepared.
As countries around the world implemented the necessary quarantines and social distancing practices to contain the pandemic, customers rushed online to order everything from toilet paper to baking flour. With the growing Covid-19 pandemic closing restaurants, we saw a spike in food delivery much like the 20% jump China reported during the peak of its crisis according to TechCrunch (techcrunch.com) In Dubai for instance, that jump in food delivery was much higher thanks to the already high penetration of food delivery apps and aggregators such as UberEats, Talabat, Deliveroo and Zomato.
The increase in food delivery and takeout doesn't come without its set of problems.
Nevertheless, the increase in food delivery and takeout doesn't come without its set of problems. Consumer will remain consumers and will voice their grievances much louder now on online review sites. Besides issues with food delivery delays or the food arriving cold customers are also keeping a keen eye on safety. Is the restaurant taking the necessary measures to keep staff safe and Covid free (the use of hand sanitizers, wearing masks, etc.), are they abiding by the ever changing health restrictions, are their drivers wearing masks en route to delivering their food, is contactless delivery an option and so on.
Restaurants have been among the hardest hit sectors during this Covid-19 pandemic but many have also been able to adopt to online food ordering and curb side pickups. Nevertheless, they had to adopt quickly to the new normal of operating a restaurant and mistakes are bound to happen. The good news is that operators have an abundance of feedback from customers through online reviews to help catch those mistakes. Listening to what customers are saying and adopting quickly is so paramount now. A single negative review, because you are just learning how run a smooth and safe food delivery operation, can shut you down before you had a chance to get started.
How can restaurant operations manager listen to every online review related to food delivery?
So, if you manage the operations of your restaurant group, what are your options? Well, first you need to identify the different online review sites that customers use to leave feedback on. You have your usual suspects such as the delivery apps and aggregators that we mentioned previously plus those available in other parts of the world such as DoorDash and Skip The Line. But there are other platforms that customer might resort to to complain. These include Google Maps, Facebook, Foursquare (mainly in the Middle East) and even the good old Yellow Pages.
Working with your marketing team, operators should make sure they have access to all of these platforms or at the very least receive a summary report on a regular basis. However, this might not be fast enough for you to react to operational issue that take place that day. What you need is a more automated system to make you aware of possible food delivery issues when they happen. This allows you to react and fix the issue on the same day in order to prevent getting more negative reviews.
You can lose 30 potential customers when you get just one negative reviews!
A study showed that negative reviews succeed in chasing away customers from your business to your competitors. Research shows that one negative reviews drives away 22% of customers or around 30 potential buyers. The percentage of lost sales increases with the increase of negative reviews. If you receive three negative reviews, you will drive away 60% of potential customers and that number increases to 70% if you receive more than 5 negative reviews.
With that in mind, can you really afford not monitoring and responding to negative online reviews on a daily basis? Now this can be operationally difficult to accomplish using a manual process but luckily that's why online reputation management solutions such as Localyser exist.
Online review management tools are designed to aggregate all of your online reviews from different sources from across the Web and alert you when you receive new negative reviews. At Localyser for example, the platform is integrated with over 70 different reviews sites from around the World.
In conclusion, we have shown that in order to win in the food delivery and take out game (the new normal), your best weapon is to listen to what customers are saying so you can adopt quickly and grow this new source of revenue. After all, this Covid-19 pandemic isn't going away very soon and diners are not coming back any time sooner.