Some argue that the act of going out to eat is diminishing quickly with access to almost every cuisine on delivery apps. Whether this is true or not, it has become a responsibility for restaurants to recalculate their menus and food packaging processes so that off-premises diners are just as pleased with their orders as those that visit the restaurant. With that in mind, a new emphasis has been placed on food freshness and presentation for all delivery and takeout items. It isn’t uncommon to be presented with sub-par meals when using food delivery apps all because of careless packaging and/or delivery. While restaurants can’t help the level of attention a delivery person through third-party apps gives an order, they can take precautionary measures to make certain that all orders arrive at one’s door as similarly as they would on a plate on-premises. Take a look at these ten tips to keep delivery and takeout food fresh.

Separate Hot and Cold

One takeout and delivery ideology to live by is to always separate hot and cold – this applies to food, beverages, and sauces. Given that an order can take up to an hour from the time it gets packaged to arrive at a customer’s doorstep, it is important to take measures that ensure food items will show up at the desired temperature. Packaging hot and cold items in the same container will make for a lukewarm mixture upon delivery.

Create a Delivery-Specific Menu

Some dishes simply aren’t the same delivered as they are when dining out – and that’s okay. Designing a delivery-specific menu optimizes freshness and presentation for food and beverages your restaurant prides itself on, eliminating risky dishes that may not do well in transit. Try advertising your special menu on your website and social platforms to entice customers to dine in next Friday night. 

Include Reheating Instructions

With almost every type of cuisine available for delivery these days, reheating food has expanded to more than just throwing yesterday’s pizza in the oven. Including reheating instructions specific to the cuisine ordered will allow customers to enjoy your food at the ideal temperature, regardless of arrival time. 

Sort by Texture

Mashed potatoes and meatloaf is a top-notch combo – although maybe not when it has been sitting mixed together for more than a few minutes. Evaluate dishes that would be best served by giving customers the option to do the mixin’ and fixin’ themselves. The “foods shouldn’t touch rule” is real for some – especially when blending textures results in an unsatisfactory aftereffect.

Use Tight Lids or Switch to Cans

Ever spilled your soda on the way home from your favorite drive-thru window? When delivering food via car or bike to your customers, the same spillage is likely to happen. Invest in quality lids when delivering beverages or just switch to canned drinks entirely. 

Pay Attention to Container Size

Assuring that food is compact in the proper container can promote quality freshness and peak presentation. If a dish is sent through transit in a container that is too big or too small, spillage may follow. No one wants a concoction of ingredients that look nothing like the Grubhub picture to arrive at their door. 

Sauces on the Side!

One of the most important rules of delivery is to keep condiments and sauces separate from dishes. Salsa, gravy, and ketchup are a recipe for a soggy disaster if not applied right before eating and can ruin the perfect dinner. By including condiment packets and individual sauce containers, diners also have the ability to dress the meal according to their liking.  

Set a Realistic Delivery Radius 

We get it – you want to show off your spectacular restaurant to all five boroughs of NYC. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, city traffic can make the short distance between Brooklyn and Manhattan feel like a cross-country trip, and when it comes to delivery your food will suffer the consequences. Set a realistic delivery radius for your customers so that their food arrives fresh and in a timely manner. 

Ask for Feedback: How Did We Do?

Diners are frequently asked to report on their level of satisfaction with their meal, and that review should extend to delivery appearance and freshness. Asking customers to fill out a survey on delivery satisfaction and inquiring about tips on improving orders can provide your establishment with helpful suggestions on perfecting this area of service. Throwing in a discount on their next order will give a good incentive to share thoughts and tips.