The Italian restaurant had been a blur of activity. Chefs furiously cooked pizza and pasta at both ends from the store, waiters busily took phone orders along with a procession of food couriers gathered deliveries. There was clearly one problem: few in-store dinners had food on their table.
By my count, at the very least two-thirds of restaurant patrons were awaiting food. Some had that, “please feed me before I faint” look. Others were “hangry” (hungry-angry) from too little food, overpriced menu plus a flood of delivery orders that crushed the kitchen.
Just about every pizza cooked went in to a home-delivery box and pastas were stacked full of plastic containers and delivery bags. I don’t know if the restaurant prioritised buy forskolin or if the orders just fell that well. Nevertheless in-store dining seemed a lower priority.
We have seen the same problem many times this current year. Popular restaurants are swamped by online or phone orders and struggling to balance the requirements in-store diners because of their takeaway or home-delivery customers.
I suspect more family restaurants will neglect to get accustomed to development in online food ordering and delivery – and unwittingly wreck their in-store experience and brand.
Will it be taking longer to receive food ordered in restaurants?
Are definitely more orders being manufactured for pick-ups or home delivery?
Do you experience feeling in-store dining is becoming less appealing as increasing numbers of restaurants gear up for online orders and deliveries.
It is fascinating to view smaller restaurants conform to the meal-ordering boom that Menulog and delivery companies such as Foodora, Deliveroo and Uber are driving.
The suburban restaurant that catered to local residents and maybe a tiny takeaway market now serves a greater market via online food-ordering platforms. Some even promote their business into a wide radius of suburbs, developing a potential customer base they cannot hope to serve properly.
Their kitchens usually are not set up to handle a lot of online orders at the same time, they don’t have sufficient staff once they need them, and their in-store dining and web-based components tend to be poorly co-ordinated.
Their cost base and business design is still built around in-store dining, although much more of their revenue is coming from online orders. One local restaurant owner informed me 80 per cent of meals they cook have become for home deliveries or pick-ups.
Granted, this is an excellent problem for smaller restaurants. Those who successfully market via food-ordering platforms have realized a more substantial subscriber base and surviving inside a difficult, competitive market. Needless to say, they want as many online orders as you can.
The prospect of churning out meal after meal for the takeaway market, often at just a little discount to in-store dining, looks a lot more lucrative than counting on in-store diners.
The possibilities of churning out meal after meal to get a takeaway market, often at only a small discount to in-store dining, looks considerably more lucrative than depending on in-store diners, waiters, and all sorts of the expense and hassle that is included with that. And less risky.
But smaller restaurants should consider how continued fast increase in online food ordering and deliveries changes their industry, and adapt. The ones that respond by just cooking more and more meals, with the same enterprise model and infrastructure, may ultimately damage their client base.
My guess is that they will alienate in-store diners and push a lot more people towards ordering deliveries or buying pre-cooked meals. It’s not surprising that David Jones plans a big push in this area: the marketplace is ripe for higher-quality, pre-prepared meals.
Overseas, food delivery giant Deliveroo, reportedly worth over $US1 billion, is opening kitchen spaces in places not well-served by restaurants – a method it calls “food delivery 4.”. It’s changing how takeaway foods are prepared.
Deliveroo along with other food-technology innovators can easily see the potential: many people will order food on the web and have it home delivered, and cook less, in future years. But the sector is still geared mostly towards people ordering and consuming (or picking up) food in-store.
As I’ve written before within this column, smaller restaurants have to rethink their strategy to the food-ordering boom: virtual brands, shared kitchens, industrial-style cooking facilities 46dexipky smaller menus (which are faster cooking) for the online market.
Store layouts will need to change: separate areas for food couriers away from in-store patrons, different kitchen configurations, as well as other staffing in busy periods. And more seriously considered how in-store diners are served, or whether or not the business should downscale in this area.
Yes, there will be interest in in-store dining and several restaurants do a fantastic job. But as more in their revenue originates from online orders in future years, the industry should adapt faster to capitalise on the fantastic opportunity.
To date, the sole people being disrupted by the online food-ordering boom look like in-store diners – as well as in time, the large supermarkets as people cook less.