The Italian restaurant was actually 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 picked up deliveries. There is one problem: few in-store dinners had food on their table.
By my count, at the very least two-thirds of restaurant patrons were waiting for food. Some had that, “please feed me before I faint” look. Others were “hangry” (hungry-angry) from an absence of food, overpriced menu as well as a flood of delivery orders that crushed your kitchen.
Nearly every pizza cooked went into a home-delivery box and pastas were stacked rich in plastic containers and delivery bags. I don’t know if the restaurant prioritised where can you buy forskolin or if the orders just fell that well. But in-store dining seemed a cheaper priority.
I actually have seen exactly the same problem a few times this coming year. Popular restaurants are being swamped by online or phone orders and struggling to balance the requirements of in-store diners with their takeaway or home-delivery customers.
I suspect more family restaurants will neglect to get accustomed to growth in online food ordering and delivery – and unwittingly wreck their in-store experience and brand.
Could it be taking longer to acquire food ordered in restaurants?
Are more orders being made for pick-ups or home delivery?
Are you feeling in-store dining is starting to become less appealing as more restaurants gear up for online orders and deliveries.
It can be fascinating to look at smaller restaurants get accustomed to the foodstuff-ordering boom that Menulog and delivery companies for example Foodora, Deliveroo and Uber are driving.
The suburban restaurant that catered to local residents and maybe a tiny takeaway market now serves a bigger market via online food-ordering platforms. Some even promote their business to some wide radius of suburbs, creating a possible client base they cannot aspire to serve properly.
Their kitchens usually are not set up to handle a large number of online orders right away, they don’t have enough staff after they need them, and their in-store dining and on-line components are often poorly co-ordinated.
Their cost base and business design remains built around in-store dining, even though more of their revenue is arriving 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 a great problem for smaller restaurants. People who successfully market via food-ordering platforms have realized a more substantial customer base and surviving within a difficult, competitive market. Needless to say, they really want as much online orders as you possibly can.
The prospect of churning out meal after meal to get a takeaway market, often at only a tiny discount to in-store dining, looks a lot more lucrative than counting on in-store diners.
The possibilities of churning out meal after meal for the takeaway market, often at just a compact discount to in-store dining, looks a lot more lucrative than relying upon in-store diners, waiters, and the expense and hassle that is included with that. And less risky.
But smaller restaurants must think through how continued fast increase in online food ordering and deliveries changes their industry, and adapt. Those that respond by simply cooking more and more meals, using the same business model and infrastructure, will 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 no great surprise that David Jones plans a huge push here: the current market 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 possible: many people will order food online and get it home delivered, and cook less, in coming years. But the market is still geared mostly towards people ordering and consuming (or collecting) food in-store.
As I’ve written before in this column, smaller restaurants should rethink their procedure for the foodstuff-ordering boom: virtual brands, shared kitchens, industrial-style cooking facilities 46dexipky smaller menus (which can be faster cooking) for your online market.
Store layouts need to change: separate areas for food couriers clear of in-store patrons, different kitchen configurations, and various staffing in busy periods. And more considered how in-store diners are served, or regardless of if the business should downscale in this area.
Yes, there will be need for in-store dining and many restaurants do a fantastic job. But as more with their revenue arises from online orders in future years, the marketplace will need to adapt faster to capitalise on the fantastic opportunity.
So far, really the only people being disrupted with the online food-ordering boom appear to be in-store diners – and in time, the major supermarkets as people cook less.