Foodservice Updates is designed to help foodservice operators keep on top of all the industry news and provides tips for keeping business running smooth. We endeavor to provide the latest tips and solutions to keep you in the know.
Making sense of delivery’s growing pains
While restaurant delivery surged during the worst parts of the pandemic, momentum has slowed as consumers have returned to in-person dining and takeout orders. In fact, a recent study from Paytronix found that takeout now accounts for a majority of all digital orders. In the background, restaurant tech companies have been stumbling amid layoffs and profitability challenges. This has led some to question the long-term viability of delivery, which was difficult for restaurants to make work financially even in more stable economic times. On the surface, a rise in takeout business sounds like good news. But it may be just a blip before tech-driven delivery rebounds, according to a new book, Delivering the Digital Restaurant by Meredith Sandland and Carl Orsbourn. They say restaurant tech is still in its infancy and it can be difficult to imagine a different way of operating, but “there are places in the world where delivered food is actually cheaper than eating at a restaurant, even without drones and sidewalk robots and automated food trucks cooking en route.” Delivered food at a lower cost is possible, they say. However, front-of-house staff, dedicated dine-in space, prime real estate, and a third-party companies making deliveries aren’t part of the picture in those cases. As much as restaurant businesses have winnowed down their operating models, there is likely much more change to come. If delivery is a critical pillar to your business, how might you further transform your model to make it work?
Is your menu sending the right message?
According to Datassential, 60 percent of restaurant menus have gotten smaller in recent years. As menus have slimmed down and inventories have had to stretch farther, the language you use to present your menu items becomes that much more important. Your menu is also one of the first things a potential guest sees from your restaurant if they order online, so it needs to create the right first impression about your brand. That’s something that may need some attention at your restaurant as you update the language you use on your menus to accommodate a newly streamlined selection or a shifting supply of ingredients. As Guillermo Ramirez, creative director of the Miami marketing agency Gluttonomy Inc. told Eater recently, “The menu is just like a business card.” It needs to encapsulate your business and accurately reflect its brand and values, in addition to what you’re serving, while leaving some room for surprise. At the same time, you want to hold guests’ attention and make every word count. In your menu descriptions, consider including the names of key ingredients, along with brief, vivid descriptive words that engage the senses, as well as a word or two on how the dish is prepared. Highlight any premium ingredients you’re using, along with local suppliers that guests may know. Eliminate jargon to ensure you communicate clearly and avoid creating the wrong kind of surprise about what they are ordering.
How to Maximize Your Menu with Less
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