Why Having An Advanced On-Demand Restaurant Strategy Can Set Your Brand Apart

Ever wondered how a great on-demand strategy can differentiate your concept from the rest?

On this episode of Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, our host Valerie Killifer sits down with Mark Toth, Founder and CEO of Urban Wok, founded in 2018 in Minneapolis, to figure out just that.

Urban Wok focuses technology to make the customer experience as efficient, seamless and enjoyable as possible.

One example of that is the fact that Urban Wok is completely cashless.

“The main advantage which I did not think of when I opened up Urban Wok is the ability for our employees, and our managers and myself to interact with customers, since we’re not operating with a transaction having to punch and order in or give cash back or change or things like that,” says Mark Toth.  

“We actually can make a meal, talk to the customer, talk about sauces, talk about clean ingredients, help them through the computer system if they need help, although it happens very rarely. So the ability to interact with customers has been nothing but a great thing without having cash to deal with.”

Urban Wok has become a favorite amongst Millennials and Gen Z patrons because of their modern approach to foodservice. Learn more by listening to the podcast above!

American Express is Buying Reservation App Resy

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The financial services corporation American Express announced today that it will be buying the restaurant reservation booking platform, Resy.

In a move to offer more restaurant perks to its customers, the credit card company has been adding to its portfolio by acquiring different hospitality services.

Some of American Express's latest acquisitions include the travel-assistant app Mezi and LoungeBuddy, an airport-lounge booking service.

“American Express wants to be more central in our customers’ everyday lives,” said Chris Cracchiolo, American Express’s senior vice president for global loyalty and benefits to "New York Times."

Resy, which has emerged as a rival to OpenTable, has 4,000 restaurants on its platform and is used in 10 countries.

Last November, Resy acquired Reserve, another reservation company.

Before that, Resy was on an acquiring spree and bought ClubKviar, a reservation service in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain in April and in 2017, the company also acquired Servy, a market research service.

Resy's revenue has doubled every year for the last four years. According to Foodable Labs data, Resy has the highest Operator Sentiment score out of all the reservation services, meaning operators are much happier with this service versus others.

Now, as part of American Express's portfolio, Resy is expected to grow significantly.

“Putting Resy and American Express together will give Resy valuable scale,” said Ben Leventhal, Resy’s co-founder and chief executive.

Earlier this year, Resy partnered up with the American Express competitor Capital One to release a modern restaurant week and Capital One cardmembers got early access to book reservations during these weeks.

American Express' may now do similar campaigns to promote its dining reward credit cards.

Read more about the impending deal at "The New York Times" now.

Under the American Express' umbrella, Resy is about to become a real threat to OpenTable. Check out the video below to learn more about the restaurant reservations war.

Why Chains are Rolling out Virtual Kitchens

As restaurants ramp up off-premise business, the more orders kitchens have to accommodate for.

Starbucks and Chick-fil-A hire staff members specifically to handle mobile orders, but some brands are investing entirely in separate spaces strictly allocated for off-premise operations.

Chick-fil-A, Outback, Famous Dave's and Dog Haus are some of the chains using virtual kitchens as a solution to the influx of delivery sales. By prepping some of these orders off-site, it allows in-store kitchens to focus on in-store orders.

“Delivery is the hottest word out there in the food scene, and everyone needs to figure out how to adapt to it,” said Andre Verner, Dog Haus partner to “Restaurant Dive.”

According to Foodable Labs, over 30 percent of the U.S. Restaurant industry is using some form of on-demand third-party ordering solution.

But that number is still relatively low considering the number of consumers ordering delivery. Over 80 percent of consumers under the age of 35 are using on-demand food ordering apps about two times a week. Not to mention, as "Restaurant Dive" points out, according to Food On Demand, delivery sales are 75 percent higher than in-store sales. So there's a lot of potential in the off-premise market.

This is influencing established chains to jump on the virtual restaurant bandwagon.

"The Halal Guys and Canter’s Deli have spots at Kitchen United’s Pasadena, California, location. And Wetzel’s Pretzels, which partnered with Kitchen United in April, has already experienced growth in off-premise and in-store sales," writes "Restaurant Dive."

Want to learn more about these concepts? Listen to this recent episode of The Takeout, Delivery and Catering Show, where hosts explain the benefits of these virtual restaurants, also called ghost restaurants and how they are changing off-premise operations.

Modern Market Launches its Own In-House Delivery Service

As third-party delivery services continue to increase fees and monthly pricing, the more restaurants are investing in developing their own internal delivery platforms.

The fast casual Modern Market is the latest restaurant to unveil its new in-house ordering & delivery platform.

With a focus on catering and larger orders, delivery will be free for orders of $50 or more and the system has a feature that allows a host to invite other participants to add their own individual order to a larger group order.

As we mentioned, Modern Market is one of many to buck the trend of partnering with third-party delivery apps.

Food delivery apps like Uber Eats, Postmates, seamless and DoorDash have become wildly popular in the last few years. These apps make up 40 percent of the 20 most-used apps. Uber Eats made $7.9 billion in gross in 2018, according to Uber's recent IPO prospectus.

These apps offer consumers multiple food options to pick from. Users don't even have to have a restaurant or type of cuisine in mind before using the app, making it a perfect option for the indecisive eater.

From a restaurant standpoint, these apps are an easy solution to the delivery problem. By partnering with a delivery app, you can offer your customers the convenience of delivery without investing in a team of drivers or an expensive platform to process these orders.

"Managing delivery in-house, however, can be difficult and costly too. Hiring drivers, scheduling, making sure orders are fulfilled on time and creating the software that helps tie all these dots together is a large undertaking and can lead to serious issues if executed poorly," writes "Restaurant Dive."

Even though the third-party services have made it easier for brands to offer delivery, they do cut significantly into profits.

As more restaurants partner with third-party delivery apps, the more these companies' can increase fees. Not to mention, a restaurant definitely loses some of the control of these orders. It's up to the third-party's delivery driver to get the food and bring it to the guest in the estimated time frame. So the service aspect and food quality are heavily dependent on the delivery provider, not the restaurant.

So it’s no wonder that more restaurants, like Panera Bread, are shifting away from these services and developing their own.

But as "Restaurant Dive" points out, Modern Market is taking a risk by going the in-house delivery route.

"Another danger that Modern Market will have to consider is whether eschewing popular apps like Uber Eats, which compile delivery offerings from multiple restaurants, will prevent it from being as competitive as possible," writes "Restaurant Dive"

Deciding to go with a third-party delivery or investing in an in-house platform isn't an easy decision.

Learn more about the restaurant’s in-house ordering & delivery platform in the video above!

"Managing delivery in-house, however, can be difficult and costly too. Hiring drivers, scheduling, making sure orders are fulfilled on time and creating the software that helps tie all these dots together is a large undertaking and can lead to serious issues if executed poorly," writes "Restaurant Dive."

Even though the third-party services have made it easier for brands to offer delivery, they do cut significantly into profits.

As more restaurants partner with third-party delivery apps, the more these companies' can increase fees. Not to mention, a restaurant definitely loses some of the control of these orders. It's up to the third-party's delivery driver to get the food and bring it to the guest in the estimated time frame. So the service aspect and food quality are heavily dependent on the delivery provider, not the restaurant.

So it’s no wonder that more restaurants, like Panera Bread, are shifting away from these services and developing their own.

But as "Restaurant Dive" points out, Modern Market is taking a risk by going the in-house delivery route.

"Another danger that Modern Market will have to consider is whether eschewing popular apps like Uber Eats, which compile delivery offerings from multiple restaurants, will prevent it from being as competitive as possible," writes "Restaurant Dive"

Deciding to go with a third-party delivery or investing in an in-house platform isn't an easy decision.

Learn more about the restaurant’s in-house ordering & delivery platform in the video above!

"Managing delivery in-house, however, can be difficult and costly too. Hiring drivers, scheduling, making sure orders are fulfilled on time and creating the software that helps tie all these dots together is a large undertaking and can lead to serious issues if executed poorly," writes "Restaurant Dive."

Even though the third-party services have made it easier for brands to offer delivery, they do cut significantly into profits.

As more restaurants partner with third-party delivery apps, the more these companies' can increase fees. Not to mention, a restaurant definitely loses some of the control of these orders. It's up to the third-party's delivery driver to get the food and bring it to the guest in the estimated time frame. So the service aspect and food quality are heavily dependent on the delivery provider, not the restaurant.

So it’s no wonder that more restaurants, like Panera Bread, are shifting away from these services and developing their own.

But as "Restaurant Dive" points out, Modern Market is taking a risk by going the in-house delivery route.

"Another danger that Modern Market will have to consider is whether eschewing popular apps like Uber Eats, which compile delivery offerings from multiple restaurants, will prevent it from being as competitive as possible," writes "Restaurant Dive"

Deciding to go with a third-party delivery or investing in an in-house platform isn't an easy decision.

Learn more about the restaurant’s in-house ordering & delivery platform in the video above!

CEO Frank Paci Shares Why Corner Bakery is Considered a Catering Powerhouse

Having a proven strategy for your catering channel can take your restaurant from just making the margins to expanding your concept. The variables for creating a profitable catering channel are rapidly evolving, so best to learn from the best.

On this episode of The Takeout, Catering and Delivery Show, we sit down with Frank Paci, CEO of Corner Bakery Cafe. Corner Bakery Cafe is known as one of the top performing fast casual operations in the off-premise space with nearly 200 locations in North America. Catering makes up over 25 percent of its business.

We discuss how Paci views the concept’s off-premise business strategy, what his vision for off-premises is moving forward, and how the brand was able to build up its reputation as a catering powerhouse.