CEC’s Landry agrees. CEC, known for its Chuck E. Cheese brand, launched a delivery-only concept, Pasqually's Pizza & Wings earlier this year. “One of the things that allowed Pasqually’s to leap pad was the equity in Chuck E. Cheese,” she said. “That’s the reality. When people started talking about it, it was ‘What is Chuck E. Cheese doing?’ We expected that to happen. It gave us a big pivot point.” CEC was able to leverage its existing IT and marketing teams, restaurant infrastructure, and workforce, etc. to get the brand going. “It made it easier than launching from ground zero,” Landry adds.
Resident, an experiential dining concept, launched in NYC earlier this year and is eyeing expansion. The concept leverages event space in upscale residential buildings and hosts chefs to create a unique dining experience. Tickets for the tasting menus are pre-sold, so there’s less wasted food and labor. And the chef gets the opportunity to build a direct repore with her/his diners. “We are reimagining the restaurant model, specifically fine dining,” says Mommsen. “It’s efficient and expands the margins of fine dining.“
Resident gives chefs the turnkey ability to hop on the Resident platform and cook a dinner for a high-end clientele. Resident streamlines the experience – and handles the ticketing, staffing, equipment and private dining room setup.With many fine dining restaurants closed or operating at reduced capacity, Resident has been able to get chefs from Michelin-starred chefs to participate.
“We are leveraging chefs that work at the best restaurants in the world,” says Mommsen. “We are taking that talent and creating a concept for them that's a platform of empowerment.” For chefs, this concept can be used for the betterment of their careers, to test a new concept, or for a way for out-of-town-chefs to test a new market.
5. Native Delivery Is on the Rise
As restaurants lean into off-premises for the foreseeable future, many are looking at ways to boost the bottom line.
From third-party to hybrid to in-house delivery channels, Native Delivery Rising panel features three executives sharing their insights on how to best navigate the complex world of delivery.
Wing Zone has been offering in-house delivery since it launched 27 years ago, explains Matt Friedman, CEO and founder, and now offers in-house delivery and third-party delivery at its 70 restaurants.
When the third-party delivery fees creep up to 30%, the question becomes: Is third-party delivery profitable and worth it? But third-party tech platforms help brands market to new customers and capture additional revenue. Delivery providers have their place in the marketplace, says Friedman, and may be the right decision for restaurant brands looking for additional exposure.
For those operators considering adding in-house delivery, Friedman advises operators to consider: "insurance, how you are paying people, and it enhances your labor force. For us we like to control the experience; the best way to do that is to have a direct relationship with the consumer.”
Chris Demery has worked with Domino’s Pizza and Bloomin’ Brands and is now P.F. Chang’s SVP Off-Premises Dining. When it comes to third-party delivery, “The customer chooses," he says. “They have to be able to order third-party if they want to do that, but if you can do self delivery … you can enhance that customer experience. Your job, from a customer satisfaction perspective, is to make them happy. I tell my leadership we have to do both (in-house and third-party delivery."
Restaurants need to get down to brass tacks before making the leap. Skip Kimpel, CIO of 4R Restaurants and TechChef podcaster, made the leap from hybrid to owned delivery. “All restaurants out there need to consider multiple different models and use tools to help them calculate profitability for each one ... RTN (Restaurant Technology Network) helps with the TCO Calculator; it’s something I wish I would have had three years ago,” said Kimpel.
Double Your Staff: “You can’t just limp into it. You need to double your workforce,” says Friedman. Half of Wing Zone’s employees are delivery drivers, which he calls “waiters on wheels.”
In-house or self-delivery requires an investment in labor. Over the years he’s tried to reassign drivers to other roles in the restaurant. For Wing Zone, that has not worked. Drivers want to drive and make money. It’s about tips and volume of orders, he says.
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