Setting up a delivery service for your Indian restaurant

Brits love a takeaway, and with an estimated 11 million online food delivery users in the UK, accounting for a market worth £11.4 billion, food delivery is big business. In fact, upwards of 30% of people aged between 18 and 34 order-in multiple times a month, with almost 20% saying they do so once a week.

At the top of many people’s favourite takeaway cuisine is Indian, making it the second most popular in the UK last year. With the industry booming and Indian food leading the charge in many areas across the country, now is a great time to set up a delivery service for your Indian restaurant, and we’ve got some top tips to help you get started.

  1. Changes in customer habits
  2. Choosing a delivery company
  3. Delivery fees & distance
  4. Preparing your orders
  5. Indian restaurant insurance

Changes in customer habits

There’s been a huge rise in the number of customers ordering takeaway food over the past couple of years, with some delivery companies reporting as much as a 110% increase in orders year-on-year.

There are a number of reasons for this increase, but primarily it’s about accessibility and availability thanks to food delivery apps like JustEat, UberEats and Deliveroo (among many, many others).

Customers crave convenience and if you make your food easy to purchase, they will do so. This is further backed up by the fact that average spend per person on food delivery rose by 42% between 2019 and 2021, so by not making the leap into delivery now, you’re missing out on a potential major revenue source. In fact, many restaurants have pivoted to focus solely on delivery as it has become that much more profitable for them.

Choosing a delivery company

The first step on your food delivery journey will be deciding whether to partner with a delivery company, and if so, which one. Running things yourself is an option, but it will take up a lot of time and could get costly when it comes to hiring drivers and setting up a website or app to take orders. You’ll also be making it harder for new customers to discover you, as your restaurant won’t show up in searches on the more popular food delivery apps.

Instead, partnering with a dedicated third-party food delivery company is a much simpler and cost-effective way to go. They’ll handle the orders, track the delivery and take the money. All you’ll need to do is prepare the food and accept your payment. A few worth looking at include:

JustEat

Arguably the most popular food delivery service in the UK, JustEat offers more restaurants than any other delivery app in the UK, and as such is regarded by many as the best app for local, independent restaurants.

JustEat charges £295 to sign up and takes a commission of 14% per order. On top of this, they charge a 50p service charge on each order.

UberEats

Built from the same infrastructure as the US-based taxi service, UberEats makes use of Uber drivers to deliver food. Amongst numerous additional features being rolled out is the ability for customers to use the app to pay for meals when eating in at a restaurant, making the contactless payment system even quicker and more efficient and negating the need for restaurants to set up their own system.

UberEats charges around £300-£430 (depending on the package required) to sign up and charge an additional 15-30% commission on all orders. They also charge £2.50 per order as a delivery fee.

Deliveroo

Deliveroo has seen huge growth in recent years, with over 7000 restaurants joining the service in 2020 alone.

Deliveroo charges around £500 to sign up, but this comes with the added bonus of additional equipment and professional photography for your restaurant to promote it on the app. Commission-wise, Deliveroo charges 10-20% per order, as well as a £2.50 delivery fee.

Delivery fees & distance

Setting your delivery fees, as with pricing any product, is a tricky exercise. Customers don’t want to feel ripped off, but you’ll need to make sure you’re not making a loss on every delivery.

Most restaurants charge delivery fees on a sliding scale, with the price increasing depending on how far away the customer is from the restaurant. Logically, the further away a customer is, the more time and fuel will be used to make the delivery, meaning more costs need to be covered. Exactly how much to charge is a difficult question, but remember that you want the best value for your customer so they’ll be more likely to order again. Therefore, keeping delivery fees to a minimum may in fact be a benefit to your overall income.

You may also consider setting your business apart from the competition by offering a set delivery fee, no matter how far the journey, which may entice customers who live further away to pick your restaurant over the others.

Preparing your orders

Food delivery is all about speed and efficiency, so you and your staff may have to adapt to some new working methods to make the most of the transition. This may mean learning to work with new technology, adjusting recipes to cut down on cooking time, or finding the right packaging to make sure the food gets to the customer intact.

The delivery system may vary based on the service you partner with, but generally things will go as follows:

1. The order comes in

You’ll get a notification on your ordering system with the details of the order and where it’s going. At this point, you’ll usually be able to adjust the estimated delivery time to make sure it’s as accurate as possible. This is also where you’ll be able to reject the order if you’re too busy or unable to fulfil it.

2. Prepare the order

The easy part. Prepare the food as you normally would, making sure to pay close attention to any allergies or customisations. Of course, the key here is speed and accuracy, making sure the order is fulfilled as quickly as possible, to your usual high standards.

3. Pack the order

When preparing food for delivery, packaging is amongst the most important things to consider. Investing a bit more money into the best packaging possible will contribute significantly to the customer’s experience and their opinion of your restaurant. Make sure your packaging is sturdy, flat-bottomed and well-insulated to ensure the food reaches the customer still warm and in one piece.

4. Send the order out for delivery

Once you’ve prepared the order and are satisfied that it meets your standards, you’ll hand it over to the driver who will deliver it to the customer. It’s always worth checking the driver knows exactly what’s in the order and where it needs to go before handing anything over to them. Once this is done, you’ll need to head back to your ordering system and set the order as completed, so the customer knows their food is on the way.

Indian restaurant insurance

As an Indian restaurant owner, you’ll know the unique risks you face better than anyone. That’s why you should invest in a tailored Indian restaurant insurance policy, to ensure you’re protected against the most common risks of running a restaurant. Alternatively, get a quote and see what deal you could get on a new insurance policy or renewal today.

Whatever policy you decide on, there are a few covers you should make sure are included, such as:

  • Public liability insurance: If a member of the public suffers an injury on your premises and makes a claim against your or your business, this keeps you financially covered.
  • Employers liability insurance: If you employ staff, this is a legal requirement and covers you in the event that someone who works for you suffers injury or illness because of their work.
  • Business contents insurance: If any stock or equipment stored on your business premises gets lost, stolen or damaged, this covers the cost of replacements.

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