Family-style dining chain Black Bear Diner just jumped into the delivery race, partnering with DoorDash in 66 of its 118 locations (via Food Newsfeed).
It was only a matter of time before the chain started offering delivery, a move most people in the restaurant industry now feel is necessary and not a trend. But the DoorDash partnership is only one piece of the chain’s overall expansion, which includes new locations further east (Oklahoma City and Houston), and a goal to have 126 units total by the end of 2018. It was also named one of 2018’s fastest-growing chains by Nation’s Restaurant News.
Black Bear Diner is also known for its absolutely enormous menu, all of which looks to be available through DoorDash.
For DoorDash, the partnership is one more small step in a race whose outcome, at this point, is really uncertain. As one panelist noted at The Spoon’s recent Smart Kitchen Summit (SKS), delivery may be changing the restaurant industry, but right now everything is up for grabs and no one knows who will ultimately win. Black Bear Diner hasn’t signed an exclusive partnership with DoorDash, so we’ll likely see the chain’s famous burgers available via Grubhub and Uber Eats, too.
DoorDash, meanwhile, continues to make moves. The company almost tripled its valuation when it raised $250 million in August. And just yesterday, it announced a partnership with Bringg, whose delivery logistics platform is already used not just in the restaurant space but across grocery stores, healthcare services, and retail. The integration with DoorDash will make it easier for restaurants to process, manage, and track delivery orders.
That latter point may be the key to success among all these delivery developments. At SKS, I heard numerous times from people about the frustrations of accommodating delivery orders in a restaurant. Either there’s not enough space for all those extra tablets or not enough manpower to get delivery tickets into the kitchen fast enough (among other issues). So far, no one technology or company has cracked the code yet on how to fix all this, though we’re seeing more partnerships between delivery providers and platforms like Bringg and orderTalk (who was acquired by Uber Eats this year). There are also companies like Ordermark, who unifies all a restaurant’s online orders. My guess is that whichever delivery service figures out how to unify all these different approaches will ultimately be the winner.
In the meantime, if you happen to be in the Black Bear Diner-DoorDash delivery radius, you can get free food now through October 14 by ordering via the chain’s app or website.