One basic marketing truth is that your brand should be reflected in everything you do, from the way you produce your products to the type of customer service you provide. But some types of services, like restaurant delivery, present a unique challenge. A recent Flavor & the Menu article explores the specific hurdles presented by delivery and how successful restaurants convey their brand beyond their physical location.
As convenience becomes more essential to our fast-paced society, the popularity of getting restaurant meals delivered is on the rise. But delivering food out of context of the normal restaurant experience creates some interesting questions related to branding:
- How can a restaurant ensure delivered food has taste and quality consistent with its brand?
- How can brand be clearly presented outside of the restaurant itself?
- How can customers make a personal connection with the restaurant and its staff without seeing them?
The last thing a restaurant wants is for customers’ negative delivery experience to impact their view of the restaurant brand. Although evidence shows that most people have reasonable expectations about how transport affects food, it’s still important for delivery orders to leave a positive impression so that customers will go back for more.
For some restaurants, finding the balance between delivering their food quickly and preserving the quality of the experience is a matter of trial and error. Pincho, “a Miami-based fast casual inspired by Latin street food,” had to go through this process. After putting their delivery service on hold temporarily and then overhauling their system, Pincho came back with several basic changes to make their delivery shine. They changed their packaging to better preserve food consistency during transport, paved the way for fast service by pre-packaging their sauces, sent dressing packaged separately on the side to keep it cool, and replaced generic soft drinks in plastic cups with designer cans of Pepsi to make the experience stand out.
McAlister’s Deli, a popular sandwich chain, also came up with small but meaningful ways to improve their delivery experience. Their biggest change was adding tamper-proof stickers to delivery items, which lets a customer see that McAlister’s cares about the quality of the food they send out. In addition, McAlister’s tea, a major brand item, is not only offered for delivery, but has become the top selling delivery item for the company — which is unusual when beverages tend to be less popular in the restaurant delivery market.
Brandy Blackwell, the director of off-premise marketing for McAlister’s Deli, sums up their philosophy well: “Everything from our sticker to our packaging to our speed of service to any handwritten notes that get tucked in — it all represents our brand and is critical in how we tell our brand story in the delivery space.”
Village Tavern is a casual dining restaurant in North Carolina that is developing its to-go system with the idea of transitioning to delivery. Its corporate executive chief, Mary Grace Viado, stated their motivation as, “I want our customers to have a good experience so they trust us.”
Although these examples are consumer-based, B2B brands can take a cue from this out-of-the-box thinking. Establishing trust is the key, and these brands have made basic choices in their delivery process that help them connect with customers and develop trust in the integrity of their brand. What simple steps can you take to help your brand connect with your clients?
P.S. Check out more of our branding blogs.