Marketing and Compliance Tips for Delivery, To-Go, Curbside

Update 4/15/2020:

Resources Available from ServSafe

Get your free ServSafe Food Handler courses, ServSafe Takeout and Delivery: COVID-19 Precautions video, as well as career-enhancing ServSuccess training courses here, and AHLEI courses here.

Update 3/31/2020:


Sysco Memphis, LLC. is offering a ? webinar at two different times (11am & 2pm) on Wednesday, April 1st.

Learn about your opportunity to turn your restaurant into a Pop Up Grocery Shop during these critical times! ????

Click this link for the webinar 4/1 at 11am

Click this link for the webinar 4/1 at 2pm 

Join the MRA for FREE until 7/1 here

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This brochure from Ben E. Keith gives some excellent tips.

Set up curbside pickup, to-go ordering, drive-through if you are able, and delivery as soon as possible.

For assistance with curbside parking if you are downtown or in Midtown, click here.

If you don’t have online ordering, now is the time to get that setup. Click here for options from various POS companies.

Eschewing cash for other payments will deter this virus. Consider Venmo, Paypal, online payments, Apple Pay, and contactless readers. It is safer for your employees to not have to handle money, and it will instill a peace-of-mind in your customers as well.

Utilizing your own employees for delivery is a way to keep them working. If you are short-staffed, look at this post for companies that offer delivery.

Be sure to update everywhere with the services you are offering. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Website, and email to your customers. If you are able to update your information on google and yelp, do so.

Print signage to display throughout your establishment. Use our Office Depot discount card for discounts on printing. These are just suggestions.

  • Display a sign on your front door that you are complying with the no-dine-in statewide mandate, and that you encourage only one member of the party to enter the store to pick up your order. Depending on the size of your restaurant, you may have to say “we are only allowing x number of patrons inside at one time.”
  • Clearly indicate with a sign where your drive-through or curbside parking is.
  • If your restrooms are open, display signage that restrooms are open to encourage good health. Something along the lines of “We have allowed our restrooms to remain open to encourage hand-washing. No more than 3 people allowed in the restroom at a time to maintain 6 feet of social distancing.” Keep those restrooms clean and stocked with soap, etc.
  • Maybe signs on the restroom doors that say “if you are able, grasp the handle with a paper towel instead of your hand.”
  • For your to-go line inside your restaurant, mark with tape or dots a queue which allows for 6-feet of distancing around each customer.

Here is an example from Walgreens:

Click for source – Twitter @NeimerDreamer

Please do all you can (signs, employee education, Facebook explanation on your business page, etc) to indicate that your businesses are complying with this ordinance and making an effort to serve the public while curtailing the virus. We hope this will allow our businesses to remain open for as long as possible, even with these restricted operations.

Update all your media channels to communicate if you are open or closed. Your customers will want to know.

Follow the rules:

  • From the City of Memphis: “Complaints about noncompliance can be sent on the Memphis Website via the “Message Us” tab. City Attorneys are reviewing the submissions and routing to the appropriate entity to respond. First a visit from Code Enforcement then MPD or Health Department. The penalty varies but could be misdemeanor citation and or revocation of beer permit, business license, etc. It is evolving.”
  • Please follow the rules, and we will do all we can do to advocate for you, but we remind you that “perception is everything” and the public is very frightened right now. To avoid unnecessary interruptions to your business, read on:
  • It is not against the rules to have more than 10 people in your establishment
    • If they are not congregating in one party or group
    • If they are standing 6 feet apart or more
    • If they are not dining in your restaurant
    • If they are not loitering or lingering after they pick up their to-go order
  • Encourage only one person per party to enter the restaurant
  • Encourage curbside over takeout if possible. Encourage delivery “drop and go” over curbside if possible.
  • Discourage children and large families – on the phone when your customer places the order, remind them “we prefer if just one person from your party picks up the order and we will bring it to your car.”
  • You are not responsible for groups that linger outside your business, however, you should not be promoting outside dining on your patio.
  • Do all you can do to play your part in slowing this virus. It is important for your customers, the public, and the City to perceive that restaurants are doing everything in their power to follow rules and promote public health.

Please remove all your patio and outdoor furniture, or somehow indicate that it is out of commission. (See example image below.) Unfortunately, the public cannot be trusted to abide by social distancing when they are tempted with outdoor seating. We are seeing customers pick up take-out food, then sit outside at the restaurant’s seating and consume their food in groups, in numbers too large to prevent the spread of the virus.

Click for source: Amazon
Click for source: Fixtures Close Up

More ideas from Dining Alliance (their website here has even more ideas):


  1. Add “Grocery Essentials” to all of your online menus, especially your delivery apps like DoorDash, Grubhub, and others. A grocery type item can be added under the “sides menu” or you can often create a special category like “Save a trip to the grocery Store!” You likely have a lot of these items on hand already and your distributors have a ton of inventory for you to pull if these sales go well. (See Examples of Other Operators Grocery Lists at our Operator Support Center)
    1. Create a Pre-set “Pantry Box” of these items – produce items, disposables, eggs, milk, bread, any frozen or fresh protein item that makes sense at a fixed price per box – $20 to $40.
    2. Promote the sale of these boxes on all of your social media and other online outlets.
  2. Setup a small “Market” in the front of the store. Ask all pickup customers if they are in need of any of your market items.
  3. Check to see if your state has waived laws to allow wine, beer and alcohol to be sold for off-premise consumption. Many states already have, such as CT and FL. If your state hasn’t, email and call local politicians and send the articles from the States that have.
  4. Call any of your contacts at local public schools and see if there is a way for you to tap into the Free and Reduced Lunch funds for food for families in need. The news media has talked a lot about the plans to feed kids during this shut-down. There are creative ways for restaurants to contribute their resources to this cause.
  5. If you have had to lay off a lot of your staff and not sure you can operate a takeout and delivery operation you should email your laid off or furloughed staff and ask them if they want to come in to help. Perhaps you can only pay them in a free meal right now, but I think you may be surprised by how many staff members will want to help you and get out of their houses for a shift.
  6. Create a “Meal Kit” for your signature dishes, similar to Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. Package all the raw ingredients and a recipe or take a self-made video of you or chef preparing that meal and include a link to that video recipe instruction. Again, list this Meal Kit on all your digital menus, especially on your delivery apps.

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