man sitting in the drivers seat of a commercial vehicle

Many small-business owners of restaurants are adapting to the COVID-19 outbreak restrictions by starting to offer delivery service to their customers. Some restaurateurs simply find themselves greatly increasing the frequency of their customer deliveries. Whichever is your case, we want to give suggestions you know how to keep your employees and business safe as you quickly evolve the way you operate.

First things first. Are you ready for delivery?

It’s easy to take orders by phone, of course, but it’s also easy to take them online. We suggest you explore the many point-of-sale (POS) services that allow small-business owners to quickly facilitate online orders.1 Then, if you haven’t already, close your dining rooms and prevent employees who are not needed from entering your physical location. Limiting access this way will enhance your ability to increase your curbside pickup and delivery services.

Set up employees for delivery success

Before allowing employees to make deliveries, make sure they have adequate driving experience, a valid driver’s license and a vehicle in safe operating condition. We suggest you:

  • Check the driver’s motor vehicle record to ensure they have no DUIs, no major violations and no more than three minor violations and accidents in the past three years; This is standard criteria suggested by Nationwide's Loss Control Services team
  • If an employee is driving their own vehicle, make sure the vehicle is owned by the employee or a parent¬; you might ask to see the vehicle registration card
  • Request a copy of the employee’s insurance card for the vehicle and check for typical limits of $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury and $35,000+ for property damage
  • Verify that the vehicle is in good working condition, via a copy of a valid inspection report from a state agency or repair/service facility in states where this is required

Make sure your delivery team follows safe driving policies

You can use Nationwide’s Delivery Driver Safety Policies checklist when training employees.2 Here are key points:

  • Make it clear that distracted driving is not OK; employees should avoid making or receiving phone calls, texting or browsing the internet while their vehicle is moving
  • Encourage your drivers to set up navigation systems before leaving for deliveries
  • Drivers should be familiar with defensive driving strategies; follow local, state and federal traffic laws; and wear their seat belts

Safe driving is more important than on-time deliveries

Your driver’s safety is paramount. That’s why Nationwide's Loss Control Services team highly recommends avoiding on-time delivery guarantees: “Set reasonable delivery time frames. Do not establish on-time guarantee as these can lead to speeding and unsafe driving.” 2

Two more important safety procedures to remember

You can help keep your drivers safe by checking to make sure each order is legitimate by using a phone with caller ID and looking for suspicious orders. Keep a record of each order and remind your drivers often to maintain awareness of their personal safety at all times when delivering. Take extra precautions, too, when delivering alcohol. Follow federal, state and local liquor laws and make sure the individual receiving the alcohol is at least 21 years old.

Learn more ways to keep your employees and customers safe

Review our standard safety procedures when making deliveries article, and check out the recently published guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designed to help small businesses like yours maintain operations during the pandemic.3

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