Why Some Casual Dining Chains Are Testing Delivery-Only Restaurants

Why Some Casual Dining Chains Are Testing Delivery-Only Restaurants

Restaurant chains like Outback Steakhouse and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers are turning some locations into “restaurant pods,” or kitchens dedicated to create order for delivery only.

Red Robin’s vice president of innovation, Jason Rusk, cites increasing labor costs as the main reason behind the move. The casual dining chain currently has one location in Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue that has been converted into a commissary to test out the delivery-only facility concept.

“Labor costs across the country are going up, and that’s clearly putting pressure on all restaurants… Ideally, we’d like to go into low-rent warehouse spaces with our delivery concept,” Rusk told the “New York Post.”

Bloomin’ Brands, owner of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill, opened its second delivery-only restaurant in Florida this month offering a combined menu of the two restaurant concepts. The company plans to open three more delivery-only restaurants in the same state by early 2018.

Read More

Tech & Marketing Insights From Global Restaurant Brand Leaders

In this “On Foodable Side Dish,” brought to you by the Foodable Network, Foodable Managing Editor Jessica Bryant sits down with two restaurant executives to discuss tech and marketing.

Up first, we are joined by Chris Demery, Group Vice President, Customer Experience Technology at Bloomin’ Brands, at the NRA’s Restaurant Innovation Summit in San Diego. With global brands in its portfolio, including Outback Steakhouse, we learn which technologies the group has adopted over the past year, the timeline used to determine whether it’s a success, and how brands of this size — with international presence especially — scale technology. 

Next, we are joined by Clay Dover, CMO at Pei Wei at the Marketing Executives Group (MEG) conference. How is Clay’s team implementing loyalty and exclusivity? How is Pei Wei using influencers on social to increase authentic engagement? And what does he see on the horizon for 2016? Watch the full episode to find out!