How Meal Delivery Software Helps You Organize Food Deliveries

Business owners looking to deliver pre-prepared meals to their customers’ homes face the challenge of how to manage those deliveries

They may have tried organizing delivery schedules themselves using manual calculations and/or various tools and apps — and when a meal delivery business is still small, that can work. But as sales grow, organizing and optimizing delivery processes gets more complicated. 

Using third-party services is a hassle-free option, but this is expensive — and you lose control of customer service. But organizing your own deliveries using different tools to plan routes, track deliveries, and message drivers and customers, brings its own problems and quickly becomes overwhelming.

And manually-calculated routes send delivery drivers zigzagging all over town, wasting time, effort, and fuel. This haphazard approach is stressful and time-consuming for whoever manages it — and customer experience suffers, too. Your business reputation is at risk.

So, finding a software solution to manage deliveries and streamline this process makes it much easier to run a smooth and efficient delivery service.

Using meal delivery software means you can stop using multiple platforms and apps, and integrate all these functions into a single interface to take the headache out of managing your own delivery service.

This post looks at how delivery software, like Circuit for Teams, helps you organize meal deliveries — and looks at how you and your customers can benefit, by exploring:

  • The difference between meal delivery software and third-party delivery services
  • The types of organizations that benefit from using meal delivery software
  • How meal delivery software can simplify the delivery process
  • How Circuit for Teams boosts bottom-line efficiency for meal delivery services

Do you offer a meal delivery service? Circuit for Teams will help you manage your team more effectively. To enjoy the benefits of route optimization, driver tracking, proof of delivery, and more, sign up for a free trial of Circuit.

Meal Delivery Software vs Third-Party Food Delivery Apps

There are two types of meal delivery, each requiring a different type of delivery operation. First, there’s on-demand delivery for individual orders. And then, there’s last-mile delivery for pre-prepared meal packages — where delivery drivers are responsible for multiple deliveries on one run.

Here’s where meal delivery software and third-party platforms fit into this picture:

Third-Party Platforms

There are several third-party food delivery apps, including Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Deliveroo. These give you quick access to an outsourced customer ordering and delivery system, and help drive sales by recommending your business to new local consumers. But they take a hefty chunk out of your profits, and you lose control of the delivery experience.

Furthermore, these services are best-suited to on-demand delivery, usually hot meals — rather than pre-prepared meal package orders. This means their drivers are simply going from A to B, and back again, rather than running delivery routes with stops at multiple addresses on a list.

So, if you’re looking for an on-demand delivery service, third-party apps are an easy option, but they often charge around 30% (or more), retain tips for their own drivers, and even add extra fees onto the customer side. They’ll also promote your rivals on their platform, and your reputation with customers is in the hands of outsourced, freelance, delivery drivers. 

If you’re running last-mile meal deliveries, managing your own delivery team with the help of an affordable delivery software is often a smarter choice — which we go into below. 

Meal Delivery Software

Picture showing healthy meal

Some food and drink businesses are better-suited to using their own in-house meal delivery software than others. For example, business models that may be a good fit include:

  • Delivery of pre-prepared packaged meals, including services offering ready-to-reheat daily meals to vulnerable residents (a.k.a. “meals on wheels”).
  • Meal kits, food packages, and groceries, including meal plans for special diets, or a meal prep business supplying ingredients to customers to create meals from recipes.
  • Cafés, restaurants, and bakeries delivering cold meals and fresh goods or repeat — daily or weekly — orders to homes and places of work.
  • Daily catering services, where meals are prepared off-site and delivered to schools, canteens, and cafeterias in rural or urban areas. 

Delivery software (like Circuit for Teams) allows you to take control of your own meal deliveries. It organizes and optimizes routes for you, planning the most efficient route to deliver your orders, based on the delivery addresses you import or punch in. This makes it ideal for last-mile delivery of pre-prepared meal kits from a restaurant, store, central hub, or warehouse.

After a delivery route is calculated and started, Circuit’s software tracks delivery progress and monitors your drivers in real-time so you know exactly where they are. It offers alternative routes when traffic changes, updating routes and order of deliveries for the fastest service. 

Additional Circuit features include proof of delivery capture and automatic updates for recipients, notifying them at every key stage by email and/or SMS to provide peace of mind and to increase the chances of someone being home when the driver arrives.

Unlike third-party service providers, where you outsource deliveries to unknown drivers, when you run your own service you are in direct contact with customers. This allows you to build a close relationship with them, and be in full control of the entire customer experience — from online ordering to delivery of their package. 

Overall, delivery software allows you to automate delivery management, and makes it less stressful. It removes the need to use a patched-together system of apps or tools that haven’t been specifically designed for delivery teams, and gives you full control of the entire process.

How Circuit’s Delivery Software Takes the Headache Out of Meal Deliveries

Easily optimize routes within Circuit (GIF showing Monday deliveries within the platform)

If you’ve tried to manually plan delivery routes and organize drivers, you’ll know it’s a headache. Circuit for Teams is a one-stop-shop for all the things you need to organize driver teams for meal delivery. It considers the needs of dispatchers, managers, and delivery drivers. Features include:

  • Route optimization: Our algorithm automatically calculates the optimal route for each driver. Simply upload your list into the web app, and Circuit’s software will work out the fastest and/or shortest route. You can also add time constraints and priority stops, allowing you to organize meal deliveries around certain addresses or timeframes.
  • GPS Navigation: Your drivers can use whichever mapping app they prefer, because Circuit works seamlessly with Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps, and others. No need to train them up on new navigation software. 
  • Driver Tracking: You can enjoy real-time monitoring of each driver’s position at any given time on the Circuit web app dashboard. And you can update driver routes remotely, which is useful if a new priority pops up due to a customer request. 
  • Recipient notifications: Automatically notify recipients at different stages of the delivery process, giving them expected delivery times — and allow them to leave notes for the driver if they want the meal package to be left somewhere specific.
  • Proof of delivery: Electronic proof of delivery safeguards against delivery complaints and other disputes. Drivers can capture a digital photo using their smartphone, or collect an e-signature — which is then uploaded into the cloud for you to see back at HQ. 
  • Vehicle and driver management: Circuit for Teams helps you manage a team of multiple drivers, and our new Vehicle Capacity feature takes vehicle sizes and types into account, specifying how many items it can carry and how many stops it can handle on a route. 

Overall, Circuit’s delivery software makes the entire management of the meal delivery process smoother. The software simplifies delivery service processes and procedures, integrating external apps into one interface, and saving time and energy for the whole food team. 

Real Stories: How Meal Delivery Software Helps Food Businesses Grow

For many businesses delivering meals, switching from manual organization and multiple apps to a single delivery platform has been a game-changer. It has allowed them to scale their business by building their own delivery team, while minimizing the burden of managing that team. 

Picture showing Sanjhi Rasoi staff

For example, restaurant Sanjhi Rasoi found that as demand for its Indian meal delivery service grew, owner Saghar Dhaliwal found it increasingly complicated and time-consuming to organize delivery routes for 4-5 drivers. He was spending hours every morning working out which way to send his delivery drivers. Using Circuit for Teams, he cut this down to just a few minutes. 

And Circuit’s proof of delivery feature meant that his drivers could make more successful deliveries, thereby reducing costly redeliveries to zero

Additionally, drivers are happier because they’re paid for every hour worked rather than for each route driven, which was causing friction in the team when some had shorter routes than others. By using Circuit, the whole team has become more efficient and Saghar estimates the restaurant has saved at least $3,500 per month in additional salaries.

And when one bakery’s business model was disrupted by COVID-19, they had to switch their business model from wholesale to direct-to-consumer. This meant shifting from bulk orders being driven to a few locations, to an average of 142 deliveries per day — 4,000 per month. To handle this growth without too much friction, they used Circuit as their delivery management software — planning and distributing routes between drivers, and tracking them in the field.

Final Thoughts: Using Circuit as Your Meal Delivery Software

Circuit for Teams is designed for delivery companies, courier firms, and small businesses who run their own delivery team. This means our platform has been built with key last-mile delivery functionality in mind — from user-friendly route optimization, to driver tracking, proof of delivery, customer notifications, and much more. 

If you’re running a meal delivery service or if you own a food delivery business, Circuit can help you reduce friction in your delivery scheduling and route management, handle more deliveries in the field, and improve customer satisfaction. Drivers can do their job more easily using just their smartphone, and you get a full view of your delivery operations in real-time. 

Do you offer a meal delivery service? Circuit for Teams will help you manage your team more effectively. To enjoy the benefits of route optimization, driver tracking, proof of delivery, and more, sign up for a free trial of Circuit

  • Catarina Aleixo

    Freelancer Writer

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