One of the hottest topics in the restaurant industry is the new wave of mobile food applications and how they are impacting the restaurants across America. As technology continues to grow, and restaurants are more readily accessible, mobile food apps are changing the game for customers who want their favorite meals anytime and anywhere. Mobile apps can provide a significant bump in restaurant orders, which is very lucrative for most restaurant owners. However, the system of processing orders and delivering it to customers does not come without challenges on both sides. The Greater Austin Restaurant Association held a round table discussion in March so local restaurateurs and the mobile delivery community could discuss solutions to improve the process and experience. The main discussion topics included:
- Making sure the customer's order is correct. Every restaurant wants to ensure orders are filled correctly, however when they get orders second-hand, mistakes can occur. Ensuring the quality of delivery orders and providing a good experience for customers was another important issue that was discussed. Most of the delivery companies in attendance said they had transportation methods for both hot and cold orders, but that the packaging does not always ensure durability.
- There are quite a few restaurants who do not have the capability to provide take-out orders at a very high volume. These restaurants often struggle to manage orders from delivery apps they have not opted-in to. Additionally, the increased work-load created by more to-go orders can negatively impact restaurant employees since they are not receiving tips on those delivery orders.
Many restaurants may make the business decision to opt-in with the delivery company of their choice which allows them to plan for any increase in to-go orders. The meeting adjourned with restaurateurs and delivery companies having a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities each face. The Texas Restaurant Association and the Austin chapter plan to facilitate more of these meetings to keep the conversation going. The Winter issue of Restaurantville magazine has more information on this topic.