How to Keep Your Restaurant Business Running during Coronavirus: Curbside & Delivery

Talia Bennick
March 18, 2020
Talia is the Director of Strategic Growth at Humm.

As each state rolls out measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, the situation is changing at a whipsawing pace, and hospitality is one of the most heavily impacted sectors to date. Some have made the difficult decision to shut their doors, but others are leaning heavily on curbside pickups and delivery. We wanted to share how some of the top dining establishments in the country are creatively tackling curbside and delivery business today.

Tailoring the Menu 

Many restaurants have created tailored menus that are more suitable for this new curbside and delivery landscape. Some examples:

1. Family Meal

Chefs have taken the family meal concept to the streets, quite literally. Guerilla Tacos in Los Angeles put together the “Emergency Taco Kit” which includes all the taco fixings plus 4 rolls of toilet paper and 30 eggs for $150. They sold over 75 within the first day.

2. Abbreviated Menu

Many restaurants are taking their menu and shortening it with popular items that travel well. In Austin, Emmer and Rye created their very first To Go Menu, which includes items like their beloved ‘Cacio e Pepe.’

3. Kid Friendly Items

Families are at home all together. Menus must include items that are kid friendly, like Spago’s Kid’s Menu which includes Rigattoni and Organic Jidori Chicken Fingers. 

4. Experiential Meals at Home

The beauty of so many fine dining restaurants is that they have artfully curated a full-on experience for their guests beyond just the food. How can you continue offering that to your customers? Shoji at 69 Leonard has reworked its beautiful omakase experience to now be enjoyed at home. Meanwhile, concepts that bring people together over food like Bolero in Williamsburg are sharing spotify playlists to bring the restaurant’s vibe to the customer’s home during the meal.  

Adding Beverages to a To Go Order

We all know that beverage programs are often significant drivers of restaurant profitability. In some cities like New York City and Washington, D.C restaurants and bars are allowed to sell customers alcoholic beverages to go under certain conditions.

1. Wine Selection

Pairing bottles of wine with specific menu items. For example, Seattle’s Canlis has its sommeliers pairing bottles of wine with each family meal, as well as the option to order directly from their wine cellar.  

2. Cocktails to Go

Cocktail bars like Dante NYC have created a direct ordering menu with a plethora of cocktails and some bar snacks for delivery. 

3. Juices and Immunity Tinctures

Offering juices, tonics, and tinctures with immunity-boosting ingredients, like ginger, turmeric, cayenne and lemon, can be a good upsell for any order, especially if your business is taking orders by phone. 

Potentially No Third Party Delivery Services

Many restaurants have decided to deliver meals themselves, rather than using third-party delivery services, like UberEats or Caviar. These restaurants avoid the 30% fee charged by these services. This model works well for restaurants in urban neighborhoods, as the delivery model focuses on a small geographic circumference that is densely populated with tons of potential customers. A great example: DeRossi Global, a premier hospitality group with many of its businesses in New York City’s East Village, has ramped up its own delivery operations in the surrounding neighborhood. DeRossi’s concepts, like Ladybird, HoneyBee and Mother of Pearl, are offering customers a 20% discount if they order directly through the restaurant rather than another delivery option. The hospitality group’s delivery model is clever for three main reasons:

1. Keeping delivery in-house increases the restaurant’s share of revenue by avoiding the 30% delivery service fee charged by a third-party.

2. The restaurant can continue to pay its employees, who now are serving customers directly at their doorstep.

3. They are offering additional value to customers by sharing this portion of the pie typically gobbled up by the GrubHubs of the business.

Stay in Communication With Your Customers

Repeat takeout business is key to your success in the coming weeks, and it's essential to maintain open lines of communication with your customers. With the goal of supporting restaurants during this challenging time, Humm is offering 2 free months of Live Text to restaurants, which will let your customers text you directly after their meal. It takes only one minute to sign up

*This Humm Live Text offer ($700 value) is running for a limited time