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 one problem: few in-store dinners had food on the table.
By my count, at the very least two-thirds of restaurant patrons were waiting around for food. Some had that, “please feed me before I faint” look. Others were “hangry” (hungry-angry) from a lack of food, overpriced menu as well as a flood of delivery orders that crushed the kitchen.
Virtually every pizza cooked went in a home-delivery box and pastas were stacked high in plastic containers and delivery bags. I don’t determine if the restaurant prioritised where to buy coleus or if the orders just fell that well. However in-store dining seemed a cheaper priority.
I actually have seen a similar problem repeatedly this current year. Popular restaurants are swamped by online or phone orders and struggling to balance the requirements in-store diners with their takeaway or home-delivery customers.
I suspect more family restaurants will forget to conform to development in online food ordering and delivery – and unwittingly wreck their in-store experience and brand.
Will it be taking longer to get food ordered in restaurants?
Tend to be more orders being made for pick-ups or home delivery?
Sometimes you may feel in-store dining is starting to become less appealing as more restaurants gear up for online orders and deliveries.
It is fascinating to watch smaller restaurants get accustomed to the meals-ordering boom that Menulog and delivery companies like Foodora, Deliveroo and Uber are driving.
The suburban restaurant that catered to local residents and possibly a tiny takeaway market now serves a greater market via online food-ordering platforms. Some even promote their business to some wide radius of suburbs, building a potential consumer base they cannot aspire to serve properly.
Their kitchens usually are not set up to handle a large number of online orders at once, they don’t have plenty of staff when they need them, in addition to 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, despite the fact that much more of their revenue is on its way from online orders. One local restaurant owner explained 80 percent of meals they cook have become for home deliveries or pick-ups.
Granted, this is a good problem for smaller restaurants. Those that successfully market via food-ordering platforms have realized a bigger client base and surviving inside a difficult, competitive market. Naturally, they want as many online orders as you possibly can.
The possibilities of churning out meal after meal for the takeaway market, often at only a small discount to in-store dining, looks a lot more lucrative than counting on in-store diners.
The prospect of churning out meal after meal for any takeaway market, often at just a little discount to in-store dining, looks a lot more lucrative than depending on in-store diners, waiters, and all of the price and hassle that accompanies that. And much less risky.
But smaller restaurants need to consider how continued fast growth in online food ordering and deliveries will alter their industry, and adapt. People who respond by simply cooking more and more meals, with the exact same enterprise model and infrastructure, could eventually damage their subscriber base.
My guess is because they will alienate in-store diners and push many people towards ordering deliveries or buying pre-cooked meals. It’s no great surprise that David Jones plans a huge push in this region: the industry 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 food is prepared.
Deliveroo as well as other food-technology innovators are able to see the possible: a lot more people will order food internet and already have it home delivered, and cook less, in coming years. But the sector is still geared mostly towards people ordering and consuming (or picking up) food in-store.
As I’ve written before with this column, smaller restaurants must rethink their approach to the food-ordering boom: virtual brands, shared kitchens, industrial-style cooking facilities 46dexipky smaller menus (that are faster cooking) for that online market.
Store layouts will have to change: separate areas for food couriers far from in-store patrons, different kitchen configurations, and various staffing in busy periods. Plus more thought about how in-store diners are served, or whether the business should downscale in this field.
Yes, there will always be interest in in-store dining and a lot of restaurants do a fantastic job. But as more of the revenue comes from online orders in future years, the marketplace should adapt faster to capitalise with a fantastic opportunity.
Thus far, the only real people being disrupted by the online food-ordering boom appear to be in-store diners – and also in time, the large supermarkets as people cook less.