Give your restaurant delivery service (RDS) a wintertime boost with these helpful tips.

While some parts of the United States never have to contend with icy roads, many states battle snowstorms all winter long. The Midwest got buried by over a foot of snow this month, and the one-year anniversary of Texas’s worst winter storm in decades is right around the corner.

No one wants to leave the house when the weather’s nasty. In fact, there’s often a spike in demand for restaurant delivery when the temperatures drop. People prefer to enjoy their favorite meals at home rather than brave the wintry roads. And they can—because of restaurant delivery drivers.

But delivering food in the dead of winter is not for the faint of heart. Between the bitter cold and the icy roads, it can be challenging work. As a restaurant delivery service (RDS) owner, you have the power to make it a little easier on everyone.

Here are a few tips for improving the RDS experience for your customers and your delivery drivers.

Update your delivery ETAs to reflect snowy slowdowns.

Make sure your customers know that their delivery might be a little slower than usual. Add a note to your website or update timelines manually so your customers know what to expect. Otherwise, they might be disappointed—and your drivers might catch the heat for it. Weather-related slowdowns are not your driver’s fault, of course. But if the customer doesn’t know that’s why their meal was delayed, they might feel some dissatisfaction with your drivers. Make the extra effort to communicate possible delays with your customers. Everyone will be happier as a result.

Invest in insulated, temperature-controlled delivery bags.

A hot meal won’t stay hot for long in a cold car—especially if traffic is moving slow. But an insulated bag, designed specifically for food delivery, can make a big difference. Plus, a logoed food delivery bag can be a great marketing tool. Order a few nice ones for your delivery drivers, so they can delight your customers with hot food every time.

Make it easy to tip your drivers. After all, they’re the ones out in the cold.

A lot of the big-name food delivery apps have caught flak in the past for dubious handling of tips. Consumers have become pretty vocal about fair pay and fair tipping for drivers. After all, they’re the ones braving the cold to deliver soup and noodles. So there’s not much room for error here—fair tipping should be a top priority. It should be easy and intuitive for your customers to tip your drivers through the app. 

Give your drivers what they need to stay warm.

Food delivery is a different animal in the winter months, and your delivery drivers need more stuff to get their jobs done safely and comfortably. Consider giving them a small bonus to help cover the cost of better tires for their vehicles or warm clothes.

You might also order high-quality gloves, hats, and wool socks for your drivers. Just don’t scrimp and buy cheap promo items. Your drivers won’t feel much gratitude for flimsy giveaways. But really nice stuff that actually keeps them warm will definitely be appreciated.

A few small adjustments can make cold-weather delivery more successful and more enjoyable for everyone. Take good care of your drivers and make sure your customers know what to expect. When everyone’s needs are met, everyone is happier—and your RDS can grow.