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Restaurant delivery drivers

How to Hire Delivery Drivers

Vonnie WilliamsAuthor

If there’s one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s that food delivery is here to stay. As restaurants expanded their off-premise dining options in 2020, the convenience of food delivery fostered a demand for delivery drivers for restaurants to extend their reach, target new customers, and provide additional revenue streams. 

In our study of off-premise dining behaviors, 13% of guests reported ordering more delivery. 10% of guests said they order delivery significantly more than during pre-COVID times. According to another study, 60% of Americans order delivery at least once a week.

If you’re asking yourself “What should I know before hiring delivery drivers?” read on to discover all the answers to this question. We will dive into how to hire delivery drivers, whether or not a third-party delivery service is best, and more.

Choosing between third-party delivery companies or hiring your drivers

There are a few pros and cons when it comes to picking your restaurant delivery system strategy. Let’s explore them all! 

Pros of using third-party delivery drivers

No need to do the hiring yourself

If you’re looking to save time, hiring a third-party delivery service may be the best option, as they have the tools needed to ensure proper delivery. Hiring a third party means you don't have to manage the delivery process, giving you time to focus on your business. 

Large network of drivers

Access to a larger fleet of drivers enables you to fulfill more orders than if you hire a few drivers directly. Many third-party services also increase your reach through apps and marketing resources, helping you acquire new customers.

No need to worry about car insurance 

When you hire a third-party app, you don’t have to worry about car insurance, liability insurance, or stressing about damage to company vehicles. These liabilities are all covered by the third party.

Cons of using third-party delivery drivers

Significant commissions charged by third-party delivery 

Many third-party services charge high commission fees. These extra costs can eat up any potential profits, especially from higher-margin items like alcohol or beverage sales. 

Pros of hiring drivers

Personal connection means more trust

With a dedicated driver on payroll, you can further guarantee that your delivery service follows your restaurant-quality protocol. Plus, having committed drivers assure that your food will be handled properly.

Ensure you provide the best customer experience

Drivers give you control of the customer experience—from when an order ticket arrives to when the meal is delivered. This supervision can translate to a better customer experience and a better likelihood of getting repeat customers. 

Reduce the number of people exposed to your team during COVID

With COVID cases still rising in many places, delivery can protect employees. More of a delivery-focused business limits your team’s exposure to more people, keeping your restaurant (and customers) safe.

Cross-functional training 

A dedicated team member is an opportunity to cross-train them in other areas of your restaurant operations. This approach incentivizes employees as they see a future working with your business. This kind of employee confidence can translate into better service.

Cons of hiring drivers

Large upfront investment 

Many restaurants do not have the initial capital investment to find, hire, and train new staff members. This lack of capital can make joining a third-party service an attractive choice.

Costs associated with car insurance and maintenance

If you decide to purchase vehicles for delivery, you’ll need to have a commercial auto policy. In addition, you will need to consider liability insurance, maintenance costs, and outfitting the car (i.e. adding stickers or other labels for your car.) These costs all add up every month.

When it comes to hiring or outsourcing restaurant delivery drivers, different strategies work for different businesses. If you’ve decided to go with hiring your drivers, read on:

How to hire delivery drivers

Find candidates

Fortunately, today’s technological world provides multiple avenues to advertise delivery jobs. Websites like Indeed are a good start, along with specialized industry job boards like Good Food Jobs, Gary’s Job Board, GigSmart, Layover, and Bacon. Also, ask current employees and leverage your existing social media networks to find potential candidates. 

Interview them

The interview process can tell you if a candidate is the right fit. Here are a few helpful questions to ask your delivery driver candidates: 

  • What made you decide to apply?
  • How do you feel about working weekends, holidays, nights, etc?
  • Do you have experience making deliveries?
  • How’s your driving record?

Conduct background checks around driving history

Now is the time to verify your candidate’s answers. Your delivery driver represents your restaurant and is responsible for the safety of customers’ food, the company car, and more. Ensure that their license is valid and their driving record is clean. Also, do a background check to check for any red flags.

Gather paperwork

All paperwork must be updated so that your delivery driver can legally operate your vehicle. This paperwork includes updating your car insurance, registration, and your delivery driver’s license. 

Onboard and train your drivers

While it may seem like you should skip this step (especially if you hired an experienced driver), it doesn’t hurt to review safety practices, your restaurant’s policy, and what to do in case of an accident. Giving your driver an overview can help to limit problems in the future.

Decide on a delivery radius

Now that you have drivers, choose their delivery radius. Having an established delivery radius avoids confusion, saves gas, and more. Defining your delivery radius before the interview process is also an option, especially if you have a larger delivery zone. This way, you can hire drivers well-versed in certain delivery areas.

Get them driving!

Now it’s time to get moving! Once you have established a delivery radius and hours, it’s time to let your delivery driver shine by making deliveries.

Delivery Driver? Check. 

With food delivery on the rise, it’s smart for restaurants to join in and get a piece of the delivery pie. Deciding to hire a third-party service or your fleet is a major decision— so think wisely about what works best for your business. Either way, having delivery options open your business to a new revenue stream and more customers. That means more profits for your business in these uncertain times.

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