Whatever your food plans for the weekend, I’m betting there’s a good chance they’ll involve some kind of off-premises ordering. Delivery? Drive-thru? Drone? All of the above and more are becoming de rigueur for foodies and restaurants alike. With that in mind, here are a few more pieces of restaurant industry buzz from the week, all of which hint at what the next 12 months could look like when it comes to when, where, and how we get our food.
Grubhub and Shake Shack Expand Delivery Partnership Nationwide
Expanding on a deal struck back in August, Shake Shack is now available for exclusive delivery with Grubhub across the U.S. According to a press release sent to The Spoon, more than 140 Shake Shack restaurants now offer delivery through that third-party service and no other. While that’s great for customers who want Shack Burgers delivered to their couch, the partnership has also hurt Shake Shack’s sales, according to the chain’s third-quarter results. Part of that may have been due to the exclusive nature of the deal, exclusivity being a strategy increasingly discouraged in the restaurant industry when it comes to effective delivery services.
KFC’s Drive-Thru of the Future Is Open for Business
July brought the initial news that KFC had a drive-thru-only concept in the works down under, in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Said location is now open for business. The new store features five drive-thru lanes that let customers order and pay via the KFC mobile app. While there is a designated lane for customers who want the traditional drive-thru experience (ordering on a crackly speaker, paying an actual person), there is no dining room at this location. If this pilot location proves successful, we’ll see more such KFC locations in the future.
Houston, We Have a Dunkin’
Dunkin’ (née Donuts), an institution here in the Northeast, is continuing its expansion across the U.S., and it’s bringing its next-generation store with it. The chain announced it is developing 18 new locations around Houston, TX that will emphasize to-go orders, self-service kiosks, and dedicated drive-thru lanes for customers who order via the Dunkin’ mobile app. The first of these new stores is slated to open in summer 2020.
But is the POS about to become an endangered species? Not this week, and not probably in the next year. But the growth of ghost kitchens, which exist to fulfill off-premises orders and have no dining room, suggests that pieces of the front-of-house restaurant tech stack could be eliminated in the future. That’s the scenario posed by the folks at Reforming Retail this week. An excellent article from a few days ago points out that with no front of house or cashiers, and with customers ordering directly from their mobile devices, 99 percent of the tech in restaurants could disappear: “And instead of a restaurant needing multiple [sales] terminals they need, well, none.”
Agree? Disagree? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.