The Trend: To-Go and Delivery

Busier kitchens and quieter dining rooms are what restaurateurs saw in 2018. That trend is positioned to grow even more in the year ahead. Why? Millennials may be cooking less and eating out more, but those meals are ordered as food to-go.

In 2019, to-go and delivery orders could drive restaurants to rearrange menus and redesign physical spaces to better accommodate the volume of online ordering and pick-ups. Think Chili’s and DINE Brands’ move in 2018 to open more stand-alone to-go shops.

The to-go and delivery proposition is an attractive one, on the surface at least, says Dave Bennett, CEO of Mirus Restaurant Solutions. Given competitive pressures, anything that can add to top line growth is of utmost importance to operators.

The increase in online ordering is reducing the friction of the increase in to-go and delivery orders and by increasing order volume—restaurants are still making money, but less comes from sit-down covers. Restaurants need to be prepared, says Steven Sperry, CEO of smart food kiosk manufacturer Minnow. Sperry says restaurants should consider reducing seating, open pickup only locations, or even adding drive-throughs.

“Time is really the new currency today,” says Nicky Kruse, strategist with The Culinary Edge in San Francisco. “I can get my food at the push of a button on my app. That is the new value over the amount of food I can get for x amount of dollars. It’s the value menu of today.”

For Kruse’s clients, this means focusing more on the quality of the food delivered to preserve the on-premises experience for off-premises consumption.

“Time has become our most valuable resource,” echoes Louis Maskin, Kruse’s colleague at The Culinary Edge. Millennials and Gen Z seek out restaurants they know are app-friendly where they can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner without a single human interaction. “We have so many clients come to us for help with continuing their brand story through the delivery and pickup platforms. It’s about making sure the packaging has the right pop of color, message, or note that continues this journey of the brand all the way from start to finish outside of their four walls. Customers need to be able to take a picture of that food item on their couch and still have the inclusivity with the brand without being inside the store.”

The to-go and delivery trend dovetails into all three of the big business trends we’re seeing this year: traffic is declining, but when customers do come in, they want an experience; meanwhile; the entire process is getting streamlined by automation.

Source: Food News Feed