The Italian restaurant was really a blur of activity. Chefs furiously cooked pizza and pasta at both ends of the store, waiters busily took phone orders as well as a procession of food couriers found deliveries. There was one problem: few in-store dinners had food on his or her table.
By my count, at 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 an absence of food, overpriced menu and a flood of delivery orders that crushed your kitchen.
Nearly every pizza cooked went in a home-delivery box and pastas were stacked full of plastic containers and delivery bags. I don’t determine if the restaurant prioritised coleus buy or if perhaps the orders just fell that well. However in-store dining seemed a reduced priority.
I actually have seen the same problem a few times this year. Popular restaurants are being swamped by online or phone orders and struggling to balance the needs of in-store diners with their takeaway or home-delivery customers.
I suspect more family restaurants will forget to adjust to increase in online food ordering and delivery – and unwittingly wreck their in-store experience and brand.
Is it taking longer to receive food ordered in restaurants?
Are definitely more orders being made for pick-ups or home delivery?
Do you feel in-store dining is becoming less appealing as increasing numbers of restaurants gear up for online orders and deliveries.
It really is fascinating to watch smaller restaurants get accustomed to the meal-ordering boom that Menulog and delivery companies like Foodora, Deliveroo and Uber are driving.
The suburban restaurant that catered to local residents and perhaps a tiny takeaway market now serves a more substantial market via online food-ordering platforms. Some even promote their business into a wide radius of suburbs, making a potential customer base they cannot wish to serve properly.
Their kitchens will not be set up to handle numerous online orders at once, they don’t have sufficient staff when they need them, and their in-store dining and internet based components are often poorly co-ordinated.
Their cost base and enterprise model remains to be built around in-store dining, though more of their revenue is on its way 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 are finding a more substantial customer base and surviving in the difficult, competitive market. Of course, they want as numerous online orders as you possibly can.
The prospect of churning out meal after meal for a takeaway market, often at just a tiny discount to in-store dining, looks a lot more lucrative than depending on in-store diners.
The prospect of churning out meal after meal for a takeaway market, often at just a tiny discount to in-store dining, looks a lot more lucrative than depending on in-store diners, waiters, and all sorts of the costs and hassle that comes with that. And much less risky.
But smaller restaurants need to consider how continued fast rise in online food ordering and deliveries can change their industry, and adapt. Those who respond by simply cooking a lot more meals, with the same business model and infrastructure, could eventually damage their customer base.
My guess is 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 here: the industry is ripe for higher-quality, pre-prepared meals.
Overseas, food delivery giant Deliveroo, reportedly worth more than $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 meals is prepared.
Deliveroo as well as other food-technology innovators will see the opportunity: more people will order food on the internet and already have it home delivered, and cook less, in coming years. But the marketplace is still geared mostly towards people ordering and consuming (or getting) food in-store.
As I’ve written before in this particular column, smaller restaurants need to rethink their method of the meal-ordering boom: virtual brands, shared kitchens, industrial-style cooking facilities 46dexipky smaller menus (which can be faster to prepare) for the online market.
Store layouts will have to change: separate areas for food couriers from in-store patrons, different kitchen configurations, and various staffing in busy periods. And a lot more seriously considered how in-store diners are served, or if the business should downscale in this field.
Yes, there will be interest in in-store dining and several restaurants do a great job. But as increasing numbers of in their revenue comes from online orders in coming years, the business must adapt faster to capitalise on the fantastic opportunity.
So far, really the only people being disrupted through the online food-ordering boom seem to be in-store diners – and also in time, the large supermarkets as people cook less.