Delivery Is The Hot Dining Trend, But It’s Not For Every Restaurant

By Samantha Bomkamp
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Delivery now accounts for 1.7 billion restaurant transactions per year. In fact one-fourth of all U.S. consumers said they had ordered a meal via delivery in the previous three months.

CHICAGO

Delivery, it seems, is a must for restaurants these days.

It allows restaurants to reach customers who don’t want to eat out, but also don’t want to cook. And it bolsters restaurants’ revenue by getting their food to a customer’s door, with the help of a third-party delivery service, without adding staff or increasing costs. Eateries ranging from McDonald’s to smaller independents are joining the trend.

But some restaurants are staying on the sidelines when it comes to delivery.

Texas Roadhouse, one of the only casual dining chains that doesn’t do delivery, explained its position in a conference call earlier this month after reporting quarterly financial results.

“We encourage all of our competitors to do as much delivery as they can so they can deliver lukewarm food to their people,” CEO Kent Taylor said. “We will stick to our guns on this.”

The Louisville, Ky.-based chain says it won’t do delivery for a number of reasons: No. 1 being food quality or temperature concerns. Texas Roadhouse also worries about asking its restaurant staff to make more orders at peak dinner times, when customers already are packed into the dining room.

“It’s easy for a restaurant company who is underutilizing their kitchens and who has had a lot of negative traffic for the last 5 to 10 years,” Texas Roadhouse Chief Financial Officer Scott Colosi said of delivery. “We’re just in a different position.”

Delivery now accounts for 1.7 billion restaurant transactions per year, according to The NPD Group, a research and consulting firm. In a study earlier this year, NPD reported that one-fourth of all U.S. consumers said they had ordered a meal via delivery in the previous three months. Delivery also tends to be popular with younger consumers, who eat out more often and represent a bigger slice of restaurant customers.

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