Eight years have passed, and Tingthai-CARAVAN’s popularity has continued to grow, its audiences enjoy relaxing in its vibrant dining room as well as accessing its takeaway offering. It was therefore a huge blow to its owners and loyal customers when service was restricted – like so many others – by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With customer numbers reduced dramatically, the team knew adaptation would be key to survival. They turned to digital technologies to engage with and market to customers, finding social media to be particularly effective in reaching its audience. But social media alone wouldn’t be enough to drive the custom it needed to survive the crisis.
Tingthai-CARAVAN returned to an idea it had explored in the past: online ordering and delivery. Previously the brand had worked with Deliveroo to bring meals to customers, but it stopped to concentrate on building the brand and opening new restaurants. This time around, they wanted to explore this alongside an additional route; something which could offer them greater control over their brand and revenue. They therefore adopted their own online ordering solution through QikServe: QikOrder.
Complimenting QikOrder, Tingthai-CARAVAN additionally engaged Lapsley Ltd which recommended a brand-new ePoS solution by iiko. The system had been uniquely built for food and beverage businesses and promised to be configurable to its specific needs – this was essential as the business adapted to the times it found itself in. The QikOrder platform integrated fully with the iiko ePoS enabling ordering data, promotional details and customer information to be synchronised between the two systems.
Despite running both the QikOrder and Deliveroo platforms in tandem, it has been its branded platform, QikOrder that the company has promoted through its marketing efforts. Unlike Deliveroo, the platform gives Tingthai-CARAVAN the opportunity to sell direct to customers and to access the sales data it needs to enhance marketing campaigns and drive business during the pandemic. It also merges perfectly with the company’s existing website, giving customers a seamless, branded experience.
Mindful of the difference in food presentation and time from kitchen to plate when delivering meals, Tingthai-CARAVAN’s team has worked hard to ensure everything they produce is of the highest quality. To further protect the brand, they have been discerning in their choice of delivery drivers – their goal is for food to arrive with the customer in the best possible state. Customers have been impressed and have responded well to the new options available. In fact, the team notes that the average order spend per customer is higher for online orders than it had been onsite.
Now, with the end of the pandemic in view, the team is turning its attention to the future. Once able to welcome customers back on-site, it hopes to grow its online ordering and delivery service, not reduce it to preCOVID levels.
Tingthai-CARAVAN’s manager comments: “Had COVID-19 not happened we would still have looked to update our service with technology with iiko’s ePoS and QikOrder; the pandemic simply pushed our timelines forward. It’s been very well received, and we don’t think that is just because of the situation our customers are in; our restaurants are designed with relaxation in mind, but for those that want ultimate convenience, having the food delivered to their door is extremely attractive.
QikOrder, in combination with iiko keeps us relevant. It’s helped us transform our service, from order through to delivery so that regardless of whether a customer can visit us or not, we remain an option in their mind, and that’s essential to our business.”
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.