WILL DELIVERY SERVICES AFFECT RESTAURANT DESIGNS?

Damn right it should.


Is restaurant delivery here to stay?

Due to COVID-19 and the advent of food delivery companies such as DoorDash, Skip the Dishes, and Uber Eats to fill the void of access to restaurant food, how are restaurants adapting to this new service and revenue source?

Delivery of pizza and Chinese food has been around forever, but now it seems that almost any restaurant can prepare take-out from its menu and getting it to its customers has never been easier. Presently it’s almost necessary to survive.

Even after the pandemic, food delivery will be more prevalent than ever before as it’s convenient and there is a wide range of variety to offer. The public will already be accustomed to having almost every kind of cuisine available for delivery and dining habits will change.


Taking advantage of this new service

Efficiency is so important in the foodservice industry and most restaurant dine-in kitchens are not designed for take-out. Instead of being a sporadic occurrence, it could generate new revenue that is the difference between struggling and success.

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Granted, a kitchen needs the capacity to already handle the increased volume with seasonal changes, such as patios when the weather permits. Extra staff to prep and work the line will generally suffice. A take-out coordinator would be a bonus. That person’s duties would need to blend between the preparing of food, packaging, and delivery pick-up.


Menu changes may be required

However, creating a meal for dine-in is one thing; creating a take-out order is another, especially in an upscale restaurant. Most patrons will understand that the take-out meal won’t look exactly as it does when served in the restaurant, but it can’t deviate too much.

New menu items that lend themselves to take-out could be added and priced accordingly. In fact, you could have a separate take-out menu.


Coordinating delivery with dining in

If the transition to take-out is to be efficient, the logistics must change as well. The front desk is meant to seat the patrons that will be dining in the restaurant. Having delivery drivers line up here detracts from the dining out experience.

A better design would be to use a separate entrance with designated parking for delivery pick-ups. Drivers could use a security code to enter and the kitchen would have a designated area for the drivers to pick up orders.

Instead of the front-desk handling the take-out orders, it would be a responsibility of the new pick-up coordinator in the kitchen. Obviously, these changes would require some fine-tuning to be successful. I didn’t say this would be easy.


Don’t lose sight of the original plan

But there will always be the attraction of dining out. That social interaction and level of service will never go away. It remains the main focus of a restaurant’s offerings.

If you’re constructing a restaurant or planning on renos, is this a strong consideration when designing the kitchen? It surely would be for me, plus my business plan would look better. Survival odds just increased.