A byproduct of this global pandemic is that restaurants are being forced to try new models to stay in business as people are increasingly told to shelter in place and social distance.
We’ve seen dine-in restaurants pivot to delivery and curbside pickup. But Territory Foods this week launched a new initiative to give restaurants another possible sales channel in the form of weekly subscriptions.
Territory Foods may sound familiar to Spoon readers. They took over serving Kettlebell Kitchen’s customers after Kettlebell abruptly shut down last year. Territory provides an operations and logistics platform for restaurants and chefs to manage the ordering and delivery of pre-packed, ready-made meals.
Basically, instead of a customer ordering one meal one evening from a restaurant, they could order a number of meals in advance and have them packed up, kept cold and delivered all at once. Restaurants just prepare the meals and hand them off to Territory, which handles all the ordering and distribution.
“Through our platform, folks can order meals direct to their home,” Stefan Niemczyk, Head of Culinary for Territory Foods told me by phone this week.
This type of subscription approach offers restaurants a few benefits, according to Niemczyk. First, obviously, it’s another sales channel for restaurants in these troubled times where every dollar counts. Plus, that revenue is frontloaded and gives restaurants an accurate sense of how much food they need to prepare. Second, Territory can expand the geographic footprint of a restaurant, so a restaurant in LA can serve people in San Diego.
Additionally, Territory has a full culinary team on staff. They can help restaurants put together menus based on data from existing customers, cater to specific diets, and also figure out how to design and prepare each meal for optimal travel.
Right now, Territory is available in the Bay Area and all of Southern California, as well as Washington DC, Baltimore, Virginia, parts of New York City including Manhattan, parts of New Jersey, and Dallas and Houston, TX. Niemczyk wouldn’t get specific about pricing, saying only that it’s a revenue share on a per meal basis that changes depending on the meal concept.
While this pandemic is pushing restaurant owners into new avenues of revenue, the biggest barrier to trying something like Territory might be the restaurant business itself. Faced with a revamping of their businesses, can restaurants stay alive long enough to even try something like Territory?
At least Territory seems to be giving restaurants one more way to get a fighting chance.