7 Delivery Dealbreakers According to Customers

Posted by Miriam Robinson

Miriam was a Marketing Content Specialist for SpeedLine Solutions from 2019 to 2020, and was always on the hunt for great topics to share with restaurant entrepreneurs all over the world.

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1. Long Delivery Times

On delivery review sites and reddit forums, long wait times are by far the most common complaint. Unfortunately, the same disgruntled customers are also the most likely to state that they will not order from that particular delivery service again—meaning one more customer lost.

Reddit - Late Pizza Delivery Times

What can you do to decrease delivery wait times?


2. Hungry Delivery Drivers

In an article by NPR, customers were asked if they minded if their driver snagged a few fries. The average customer response was an 8.4 out of 10 — 1 representing "no big deal" and 10 signifying "absolutely unacceptable."

It may sound completely absurd that a delivery driver would take a bite or sip out of a customer’s order, but it’s unfortunately more common than you’d think. According to a survey conducted by US Foods, 1 In 4 food delivery drivers admit to eating a customer’s food.

Reddit user delivery complaint

What can you do to keep delivery drivers from eating your customer’s food?

  • 85% of customers from the survey recommended adding tamper-evident labels or packaging, which commonly comes in the form of a sticker seal. If your POS prints labels, these could do double duty as package seals.
  • Have strict policies in place. If a customer suspects food tampering, investigate the driver and make a note of it for future reference.

3. Inaccurate Delivery ETAs

Reddit - Inaccurate delivery ETA

Another customer lost! Although an extreme case of late delivery, the delivery ETA was entirely inaccurate. Even if the delivery was 30 minutes late arriving instead of 2 hours, it still would have been unacceptable. Customers rely on accurate estimated arrival times and plan their meal time around the expected delivery. When their food arrives late, you’ve forced them to change their plans. Not to mention, when food arrives later than expected, it is often already cold or melted—making matters worse. 

What can you do to increase the accuracy of ETAs?

  • If you use a visual dispatch system such as LiveMaps, the ETA is based on the mapped delivery route, and will take traffic conditions into account.
  • Send an automatic update to customers when the delivery driver is leaving the restaurant to keep them in the loop.
  • If you know an order is going to be late, let the customer know. Prioritize the customer, and offer discounts or refunds when appropriate.
  • Adjust the system’s automatic quoted times if you encounter unexpected events like short staffing or a busload of tourists.  While SpeedLine has advanced automation of quoted time based on kitchen volume, it’s also easy to adjust or override the automatic time if needed.

For more ideas, read: Setting Customer Expectations: Quoted Delivery Times

4. Cold, Smashed or Unappetizing Food

There is nothing more unappetizing than food arriving in poor condition. This can include spilled food and drinks, soggy fries, cold pizza, melted dessert, warm salad, and more. Food that arrives in poor condition does not reflect well on your brand, and may make the customer regret their decision to order from you.

Worst Delivery Experience Evermessy pizza arriving in poor delivery condition

What can you do to ensure food arrives in good condition?

  • Separate food by temperature.
  • Invest in proper packaging to reduce spills and leakage, and test it for delivery.
  • Equip drivers with insulated food bags.
  • Use a POS that estimates food prep time so food doesn’t sit waiting, and drivers can deliver immediately.
  • Use controls in the POS to ensure drivers aren’t making five stops before they drop the next order off.
  • Train delivery drivers to carry food properly and with care.


5. Lost Delivery Drivers

The driver couldn't find my apartment so they dropped the food off at a different house and marked it delivered.

What can you do to help delivery drivers find the right address?

  • Keep an up-to-date database of accurate customer addresses.
  • House numbers and street signs can be missing or hard to read after dark or in bad weather. Train order takers to enter detailed delivery instructions in the POS like “white house green shutters,” or “side door basement suite.” These print on tickets to help drivers find locations faster.
  • Use a mapping system that integrates with your point of sale, like SpeedLine LiveMaps, to automatically check addresses as they are entered. This is important for quoting delivery times, adjusting delivery fees for more distant orders, checking for accuracy, and avoiding fake orders.
  • Send a navigation link directly to the driver’s smartphone, so they can look it up on their navigation app of choice and be on their way.
  • Encourage delivery drivers to call if they are lost and need help finding the correct house.

6. Rude Delivery Drivers

Delivery drivers represent your restaurant when they arrive to deliver an order. Friendly customer service can make a customer's experience infinitely better, even if the order itself is not perfect. This is true also if the order arrives hot and on time, but the delivery driver is rude, like in the case of this reddit user. 

Reddit Delivery Drive Rudeness

What can you do to improve delivery customer service? 

Use this delivery checklist to make sure your drivers put their best foot forward at every delivery: 

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7. Special Instructions Ignored

Reddit user delivery complaintReddit user delivery complaint

Customers spend extra time filling out special instructions because it is important to them. That’s why special care should be taken to read and adhere to reasonable requests. Sometimes these instructions are made specifically about the food order, while others are made to specialize the delivery itself.

What can you do to help delivery drivers and cooks follow special instructions?

  • Assign one member of the kitchen staff to check the order thoroughly before passing it off to a delivery driver. Customer instructions should be checked more than once. 
  • Train delivery drivers to double check the order and special instructions before leaving the restaurant. The best time to discover a missing utensil or sauce is when your driver is still on site and can grab exactly what is needed.
  • Send the complete name, address, and order to the delivery driver so they have all the information they need. This includes special delivery instructions so that once they arrive they will knock on the correct door, or provide a requested contactless delivery.

Speedy Tip

Enter the most common requests, like "do not cut" or "bake lightly" into your POS (these are called "speed comments" in SpeedLine), so order takers can select them with one button touch.

Provide an Exceptional Delivery Experience

Making food delivery an enjoyable experience for your customers is as simple as paying careful attention to what matters, and avoiding the most common delivery deal breakers. Ensure deliveries are made in a reasonable amount of time, ETAs are as accurate as possible, food arrives fresh and delicious, and your delivery drivers provide excellent customer service. To provide a delivery service that will consistently impress your customers, use a POS that is designed to help you do so. 

Choosing a POS designed for food delivery will help you streamline all your delivery operations, from taking orders and dispatching drivers, to updating customers in real-time, and delivering hot and delicious food on time.

To learn more, download: 

Delivery Features: Download the Guide


Posted on Wed, Aug 05, 2020 @ 07:08 AM.
Updated on June 22, 2022 @ 7:01 PM PST.

Tags: Customer Service, LiveMaps, Restaurant Delivery, Contactless Delivery, Food Delivery, Delivery Packaging

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