Your Guests’ Thinking About Restaurant Delivery Has Changed. Has Yours?

What’s changed? The guest has made a decision for convenience over quality — like they have in many other aspects of their life.

It has taken many restaurateurs too long to realize and accept that the guest does not share the depth of their concerns about “how food travels.”

As much as a heresy as it may be to you, the guest knows that, even if they have to put your delivered food in the microwave, they still won’t have to dress presentably or find a parking space. They’ll be home — and happy.

Why You Must Be up to Date on This Permanent Change

Delivery is not a fad. It is not going away. It is only going to get bigger.

In the future you will design your restaurants with delivery in mind (think double lines: one for delivery, one for dining room, for instance); you will consider locations that make more sense for delivery than for dining in; and your dining areas may even get smaller.

5%, 10%, 15%…there are even restaurants reporting 30% of their sales are coming from delivery. And these are restaurants that, just a few years ago, had no delivery mechanism in place at all.

Approaches to delivery? Some people like to control it themselves. Most are partnering with one of the many delivery services.

In my leadership development program, I coach officers and the executive director of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association (GDRA), including president Ernie Quilantan. At his restaurant, EBar Tex Mex, he operates an interesting hybrid — using one of the delivery services for order intake and running his own drivers for delivery.

Three Most Important Aspects to Restaurant Delivery

1.       Strategy. You have to know how you are going to get to where you want to be. How have you incorporated delivery into your brand? What is your target for delivery percentage?

2.       Logistics. Keeping everyone happy is critical to your success. How do you balance the demands of service expected by your delivery guests with those in your dining room?

3.       Future. Anticipate changes to stay on top of consumer demand. What role do you expect delivery is going to take in the future?

When you get into the delivery business you protect the health and growth of your brand — reducing the risk that you will lose ground to competitors that offer delivery. You really do not have a choice.

The big lesson from this is to just listen to your guests. Don’t argue with them when they tell you what they want. I’ll be writing more about that next week.