Although the idea of calling out for pizza or having Chinese take-out delivered to your doorstep is not new, the rate at which the food delivery service is growing is phenomenal. Overall, restaurant business is slowing down, but the delivery business is growing from its 3 percent market share every day. Mobile food delivery apps like Seamless and UberEats are expanding their delivery zones, giving area restaurants an easy way to tap into this growing market.
In San Francisco, a Greek restaurant called Souvla jumped on the food delivery bandwagon in 2015 when mobile apps became commonplace in the Bay area. Today, this segment makes up about 25 percent of Souvlas’s total business. The restaurant found it easy to box up pita sandwiches and Greek salads for the delivery business.
Adapting menu items from dine-in presentation to plastic take-out boxes is an issue that other restaurants are facing. Certain meals, especially those served at high-end restaurants, is not all about the food. Presentation, ambiance and the entire dining experience makes the meal unique and desirable. For restaurants looking to expand their delivery business, making sure that menu items travel well is key.
Cosa Buona, an Italian eatery in Los Angeles, designed its entire menu with food delivery in mind. In addition, the restaurant went out of its way to secure a license allow beer and wine delivery. As a result, takeout and delivery comprise one-third of Cosa Buona’s business.
Other restaurants are seeing delivery options as a way to expand current business. Many small mom-and-pop restaurants often start informal delivery to neighborhood regulars by simply sending current wait staff or help on a quick errand. As apps like Postmates and Caviar grow in popularity, they are formalizing their delivery options and processes.
In New York City, where food delivery apps have been commonplace for nearly a decade, some restaurants are dedicating separate service counters or sections of their restaurants to take, manage, fill and prepare delivery orders. With the trend developing so quickly, restaurants often experience the potentially clunky side of the equation, trying to gather phone, fax and e-mail orders as well as mobile apps orders from tablets and enter them into the restaurant’s point-of-sale system.
Other popular restaurants are finding it challenging to prioritize dine-in customers against the growing delivery business. Cane Rossa, a pizzeria in Dallas, Texas, puts its dine-in customer first. The owner explains that during busy times when the dining room is full and the delivery orders are flowing in, they will watch ticket times. If the times get too long, Cane Rossa stops accepting delivery orders to protect its dine-in customers’ experience.
For most restaurants, the growing demand for delivery service is a welcomed addition to the business. Many find that when dine-in business slows down, perhaps due to things like bad weather, the delivery portion of the business picks up. As a result, this new segment of the business helps stabilize the restaurant’s profits and helps keep orders flowing.