When customers place online orders through delivery companies such as Seamless and Grubhub, they are expecting restaurant-quality dining from the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately, they might not be the only ones enjoying their meal. A recent study by US Foods found that over 1 in 4 delivery drivers had previously eaten food from a customer’s order. Not only is this a betrayal of customer trust, it’s also a major risk for restaurants liable for food safety. Luckily, Bikelane’s experts have a few steps restaurants can take to prevent takeout taste tests:

Use Tamper-Evident Packaging

While this may seem like an over-the-top measure, the US Foods stud also found that 85 percent of customers preferred for restaurants to use tamper-proof labels to prevent driver snacking. Some businesses use takeout bags sealed with a special adhesive, others use carryout containers with plastic “freshness seals”, but in both cases, tamper-evident packaging does not have to be fancy. Even an act as simple as stapling takeout bags shut should be enough to notify customers if their order has been tampered with.

Go Offline 

With convenience making deliveries commonplace, online orders are beginning to take up larger portions of restaurant sales. As a result, opting out of delivery services completely is not a viable business strategy. However, restaurants have the option of establishing their own delivery programs. An in-house delivery mechanism ensures that you can personally recruit and hire the most trustworthy drivers. In addition to increased accountability and driver quality, independent delivery may actually increase a restaurant’s profit margin by avoiding the extra costs associated with major delivery platforms.

Expect the Worst

While not all restaurants will be able to staff their own delivery operation, it is important that all restaurant owners are aware of the risks involved in working with third-party service providers. In many cases, contracts protect delivery companies and hold businesses liable if anything happens to a customer’s food after leaving the restaurant. Be aware of this and be prepared.

While not every delivery driver will be sampling online orders, the odds are that at least one in four drivers will. The best way for restaurants to ensure they’re safe when working with delivery platforms like Grubhub and Seamless is to purchase an insurance policy protecting them from liability. To find out what coverage is best for your restaurant, set up a consultation with one of Bikelane’s insurance experts today.