To Deliver or Not to Deliver
That's No Longer the Question
After 30 years of offering uncompromised excellence in delivery, no one understands the complexity of the issue better than Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in Chicago. “Because delivery adds a whole new set of issues in terms of liability, insurance alone stops many restaurants from offering the service.” said Kerri Phillips, digital marketing manager for Lou Malnati’s. “My advice to operators is don’t reinvent yourself. If you don’t already have delivery in place, I recommend 100 percent the use of a third-party option,” she said.
And, Ms. Phillips takes her own advice to heart. Even for a restaurant that has built its reputation on fast, friendly delivery, the benefits of third-party online delivery could not be ignored. Lou Malnati’s signed on last year with Grubhub to generate new business for their downtown market. Plans to roll this out in the suburban markets are in the works. Ms. Phillips said analysis proves that online services generate new customers. “At Lou Malnati’s, our drivers are critical to our success, and we are unwilling to part with them. Still, the market is going in the direction of online ordering, and if you aren’t on the list, you will lose customers,” she added. Because Grubhub allowed Lou Malnati’s to maintain their own drivers, it was a perfect addition to their business model.
Other restaurants reluctant to add delivery are finding ways to embrace the change. Barry Sorkin, owner/operator of Smoque BBQ in Chicago, avoided delivery mostly because of his belief that “food tastes best in the restaurant.” Also, using a third-party service added a financial commitment and relinquishment of control that challenged his business ideals. He says he resisted as long as he could. “Whether I like it or not, customers are demanding delivery,” he said. “I had to listen.”