It’s evident how the COVID-19 crisis has negatively impacted different businesses from various industries. In fact, many small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) that had a temporary closure during lockdowns ended with a permanent shutdown. On the other side of the spectrum, some businesses have managed to survive and reopen.
But according to the US Chambers of Commerce, some industries have thrived and flourished during this pandemic. On top of these is the food delivery service. In fact, the shelter-in-place order has forced individuals and families to rely heavily on this sector. People have seen the value of this business even as the pandemic restrictions have gradually become lighter.
As such, it’s never too late to launch your food delivery service in your locality. Capitalize on the relevance of this industry and take the opportunity to do business while serving your community. However, make some critical plans, as there are a lot of considerations to make.
That said, here’s how to start a local food delivery service during this pandemic:
1. Study your market and target consumers
It’s imperative to study the industry before launching a business. It’s good that the US Chambers of Commerce identified the food delivery service as one of the thriving businesses during this pandemic. However, you still have to do your research to check the needs of your local consumers. From there, you can sit down and come up with a business plan. These include the customers you’ll cater to, the service area of delivery, the restaurants you’ll work with, and the types of foods you’ll deliver.
2. Check your finances and overall budget
A crucial part of launching a business is your finance. Understand that you need a large amount of money to cover the initial expenses and capital outlay. These include the physical office rental, website cost, tools and equipment expenses, vehicle costs, initial employee wages, and even marketing costs. As such, set your overall budget to launch your startup. You can even go as far as applying for a small business administration (SBA) loan.
3. Hire the right people and provide them with proper training
As with any business, the employees are the most valuable assets. It’s crucial to hire the right people, as they will be instrumental to your overall business success. In most cases, you need a handful of drivers (for the delivery service), assistants (for administrative works), and even cooks (if you’ll prepare the foods themselves and not work with other food suppliers). While at it, provide them with the needed training. For instance, if you employ teens as drivers for your delivery service, help them get a learner’s permit online. That way, they can use their vehicles to deliver orders. (Don’t forget to compensate them for their gas!)
4. Set your vehicles for delivery in place
Every delivery service needs to set the vehicles used for business in place. These vehicles must be in top shape and working condition all the time. Most importantly, your drivers must have a valid license to hit the road and even insurance to protect themselves. The ultimate goal is to foster the utmost road safety. The last thing you want to happen is for your employees to get into a road accident. Even it occurs, you want them to be fully insured.
5. Network with local food suppliers and restaurants
As a food delivery business, you have two routes to take. First, you can prepare the food supplies themselves and do the delivery. Second, you can focus on the delivery alone and work with local food suppliers. If you choose the latter, you must negotiate with the restaurants in your area. You can even go as far as using food delivery apps like DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats that automatically connect customers to restaurants. And from there, you’ll serve as the middleman by providing the delivery service.
6. Employ digital marketing strategies
Once you have everything in place, start to market your business and promote your food delivery services in your locality. When it comes to this, digital marketing is the key. There are some online campaigns you can implement for your business. Below are some recommendations:
- Update your website for service promotion.
- Implement search engine optimization (SEO) for online visibility.
- Employ pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for website traffic.
- Resort to email marketing for reaching out to customers.
- Perform content marketing for customer engagement.
- Utilize social media for customer engagement, lead generation, and customer acquisition
At this point, you now know what it takes to launch your local food delivery service while we’re still in a pandemic. Consider the business tips recommended above, from studying your market to set your vehicles in place to employing digital marketing strategies. With all these in mind, you’ll be able to start your business on the right footing. Ultimately, your food delivery service will drive in the right direction towards business success!