There’s no arguing with the fact that food establishments offering delivery have begun to gain significant momentum over recent months. Of course, this is partially due to the global pandemic, however prior to the pandemic research was showing that restaurants offering delivery – as well as delivery-only eateries – were becoming increasingly successful. 

A lot of en entrepreneurs have noticed this rising trend, with many beginning to take advantage of the new opportunity available to them. If you’re one of these entrepreneurs who has noticed the change in consumer behaviour in regards to how people are choosing to ‘eat out’ – or in as the trend suggests – then you may be thinking about taking advantage of this change in buyer behaviour and launch your own venture. 

While the barriers for entry to this new, emerging industry are low, that doesn’t mean that you can assume it will be easy to be successful. Because while the barriers to entry are lower, you’re still launching a new business, and as with any startup, it takes a lot of time, effort and thought to be successful. 

The good news is that when it comes to launching a virtual, delivery-only business, there are a number of steps that you can take to enhance your chances of success. Keen to know what these are? Have a read of the five things below that you should know to ensure success with your new venture! 

1. Design your menu

The first step to launching a virtual, delivery-only restaurant is to create a menu. You may already have an idea in mind – perhaps linked to what the local food scene is missing – or you may be unsure about what to offer. As a rule of thumb, themed-cuisine tends to be more successful than menus offering a wide range of random dishes. This is because themed-cuisine suggests a specialism, and when it comes to food, consumers like specialisms. 

So think carefully about what type of food you want to offer – as well as what type of food you have the experience and knowledge to offer. When hiring a chef, and a kitchen team, make sure to ask them whether they’re experienced creating the type of cuisine that your eatery is going to be known for. 

Consider running some split testing on your menu ideas, and potentially running virtual focus groups as well. You need to ensure that your menu – and eatery cuisine – is going to be well received, which is where testing can come in useful. You could also opt to run surveys online using resources like Survey Monkey and posting them in local Facebook groups to gauge the interest of local people – aka your target demographic.

2. Create a simplistic, easy-to-use website 

You can’t run a virtual eatery without a well-designed website, can you? It’s vital that you have a website created that is simple to use, smart, and works seamlessly. Because the last thing you want is your website putting potential customers off of ordering from you, as it doesn’t look professional enough or is too complex to use. 

Unless you have a background is web design, it’s a good idea to outsource the task of website design to a professional web designer, ensuring that the end result reflects the kind of website that you want and your eatery needs. Not sure what a virtual, delivery-only eatery website should look like? Take the time to find ideas and inspiration online. It’s also a good idea to ask your web designer for their insight on how your website should potentially look. 

You could consider getting some beta testers to test out your website and rate it for ease or use, simplicity, and design elements. It’s important to make sure that your website is appealing to your target market, which is where testing, prior to your launch, can come in useful.

3. Team up with local food delivery services 

You need to think carefully about how you’re going to get your orders to their order location. While you could opt to deal with food delivery yourself, you need to consider the cost of doing so. You would either need to invest in your own fleet of vehicles and drivers or you would need to outsource the task to delivery drivers with their own vehicles. You may find the ins and outs of doing this too complex, such as dealing with insurance and other key issues. 

However, there is an easier solution – team up with local food delivery services. The likes of Just Eat, Uber Eats, and Deliveroo, for instance, could be ideal to team up with. Yes, you’d need to pay a premium to work with these companies but their drivers are skilled and experienced, and you may find this way of working removes a lot of stress from your business model. 

Take the time to consider what route would work best for you – don’t be afraid to call local food delivery companies and ask questions. You need to be clear about what the pros and cons of each option are for your business. 

4. Utilise key pieces of software 

Obviously, you want to ensure that your virtual, delivery-only eatery runs seamlessly, which is why investing in key pieces of software aimed at increasing workplace productivity and efficiency, while reducing stress is a good idea. A key area that many businesses struggle with is dealing with employee scheduling – aka who is on shift when. 
However, you can find some of the best free scheduling software online, if you take the time to do your research.

By utilsing this kind of management software, you can reduce costs and save time. As a new business owner, utilsing key pieces of software is vital to your success, and it’s important to realise that.

5. Get your marketing spot on 

You could have the best business model in the world, and you could be offering a never-seen-before product that is completely life-changing, but without adequate marketing your business would be sure to fail. If you want to give your new venture the very best chance of success, it’s vital that you get your marketing spot on from the get-go. As a virtual business, your best route to marketing success is digital marketing, particularly through social media marketing, PR, and blogger outreach. 

It will take time to see results but if you outsource the work to a marketing specialist, rather than attempting to deal with it yourself, the chances are that you are going to see far greater results. As well as doing organic marketing, you may want to look into paid ads, such as via Google AdWords or via Facebook Ads. Sometimes, running a small ads campaign when you launch, can be enough to set the momentum going for your business. 

There you have it, a simple guide to five things that you should know before launching a delivery-only, virtual eatery. While your chances of success are high due to the current call for these kinds of businesses, it’s important not to assume you will be successful simply be launching. Take note of the the tips and ideas above, and implement them within your business strategy, and you can help to improve your new venture’s chances of success.