By Andrew Parr
At Best Served we are committed to delivering content that you can watch, listen and read. This piece is the final of an eight-part series that is tied directly to Best Served Custom, Ease of Ordering Volume 1, Episode 8 – Plating Like A Chef at Home. In this series we explore the customers’ perspective by having conversations directly with them. These written stories are reflections of my own experiences and what real customers have shared with us.
Here’s where we are after the first seven chapters: Each of the last two weekends my wife and I snuggled up on our couch, scrolled social media to explore dinner delivery options, and ordered from local, independent, neighborhood restaurants. We found restaurants that were telling us their story and that had promotions that bring value. We also found restaurants that had some questionable user experiences (UX), clumsy online ordering quirks, and excellence with curbside pick-up. Additionally, we explored why customers use food delivery apps and the importance of to-go packaging. In this final installment we get into, “Plating Like A Chef at Home.”
In so many ways, this conversation is the natural extension of the importance of to go packaging. That’s because in order to plate like a chef at home, the food needs to be packaged in a way that allows the customer to do so. If everything is just thrown into one box and allowed to slide around willy-nilly through the delivery process what you receive is a terrifying mess. It takes effort to find the correct packaging and a strong supply line to be sure that when you find what you love it continues to be available, without having to spend the cash up front to buy a palette (and store it where?). The good news is that as manufacturers and suppliers have grown to understand the increased demand, production is finally starting to catch up, as is innovation and quality.
What is really important is intention. The intention a restaurant puts into its packaging is a form of hospitality. Hospitality that translates to your guest, who cannot be seen in their own kitchen, or dining room, or at the coffee table in front of their television. But restaurants do not need to just keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best. No news is good news, right? Well, not so much. No news means the customer could be ordering from someone else next time and just not care enough to let you know that they felt abandoned or let down.
How can you further this intention? When selling meal kits, a well-designed infographic with directions is a great addition. Including directions on your website is also a strong solution, as customers will see that in advance of ordering. If you really want to speak to your customers, include a QR code that links to video directions on how to do some light assembly, and best practices for amazing results at home. Imagine all of your customers watching the video and responding with a robust “Oui Chef!” to your directions, and moreover, their pure joy with the outcome.
Ultimately, we need to celebrate every customer who is willing to spend their money at our establishments, and one thing that is certainly more expensive than high quality packaging is losing a customer who silently walks away when they don’t know what to do with the cold, soggy quagmire that was just delivered to them.
Relationships extend far beyond the four walls of a restaurant and include employees and customers. Best Served is excited to partner with 7Shifts, underwriter of Best Served Custom, whose commitment to employee engagement provides a real time feedback loop, building a strong culture and customer experience.
Andrew Parr, Angry Olive Consulting's Founder and Best Served Creative’s CHO, is a restaurant and hospitality industry leader with over 25 years of experience including consulting, project management, restaurant operations and talent acquisition. His education includes a BA in Psychology and History from the University of Wisconsin along with a JD from Hamline University School of Law.
Andrew was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Denver with his wife Jody and their dog Cooper. Andrew is a Past President of the Board of Directors for the Scleroderma Foundation – Rocky Mountain Chapter.