After the meals have been prepared by her cooks, she assigns each driver a delivery zone. “Each driver knows his or her area, so they’re comfortable with their delivery routine,” she explains. Better yet, by using a custom delivery system like Goose, drivers for Pittsburgh Fresh can text customers with an expected delivery time.
Although her team makes deliveries on Sunday, typically a slower day for traffic, accidents and construction do occur in her city. The drivers ability to notify their clients when a delivery is delayed significantly enhances the customer experience. “Our customers get to know where their driver is on his or her route, and through our notification they can anticipate the delivery,” she says.
Marie Branham, the owner of The Meal Prep Company, makes her deliveries on weekdays, and while her team keeps to an optimum schedule, they also experience delays. Like Wollenschlaeger’s drivers, with Goose, they also can notify their customers. Having their own delivery team also adds a consistent approach for their customers, the two food executives say. Better yet, Wollenschlaeger and Branham explain that their delivery system gives them feedback on the delivery, as well as comments on the meals. This provides invaluable information on how to further improve their product, process and best meet customers’ changing needs.
David Greensmith, president of Essential Meal Delivery, says his drivers use Goose to ensure proper delivery locations by asking for a signature for each delivery. When a delivery is made without someone at home, his operators will even take a picture of the delivery, showing their client the location of the delivery to put their minds at ease.
The Goose delivery system also allows his team to make needed adjustments to the dietary restrictions of his customers, says Greensmith. His deliveries have a custom account for every client who gets meals.
Greensmith has even begun using the delivery system notifications in yet another way. With about 30% of his orders going to senior citizens, Greensmith is able to alert not only the customer of delivery, but also their friends or family paying for the meal. “If they live in another town, they have the satisfaction that the seniors have easy to prepare meals that meet their dietary needs”, he explains.
Meal prep managers should continue to see an increase in demand for their services, especially patrons seeking healthy alternatives. Yet, it’s the operational research on how to lower costs while providing a good meal with exceptional customer experience that can help them compete against restaurants that rely on those well-publicized food delivery services.
“When my customers take the time to review all aspects of having an internal delivery system instead of calling upon partners like Uber and Amazon, they recognize that having their own staff handle this saves them money, but having the same driver also impresses their customers,” Palmer says.