Greetings from the far reaches of Newark Liberty International Airport. I’m off to Madrid to check out the the Hospitality 4.0 Congress for a few days. You should be finalizing your travel plans as well — to NYC, specifically, where you can join us next week for The Spoon’s daylong Customize event. We’ll be discussing food personalization and what that trend means for your diet, your kitchen, and your restaurant orders. Don’t sleep on this one. Grab one of the few remaining tickets here.
In the meantime, here are a few more restaurant-related stories from around the web this week.
Domino’s Stance Against Third-Party Delivery Is Paying Off
Who can possibly stand up to third-party delivery’s mission to dominate the restaurant industry? Domino’s apparently.
The pizza chain is at this point as famous for its in-house delivery policy as it is for its pies, and on its Q4 2019 earnings call this week, the Ann Arbor-based company announced same-store sales growth of $3.4 percent, while its stock jumped 25 percent. In other words, its anti-third-party-delivery stance isn’t killing its business, at least not yet. On the call, Domino’s CEO Ritch Allison did note that the company is still seeing a lot of pressure from third-party services. “As we look back on the quarter, it does appear to us that while we see continued headwinds in delivery that are difficult to forecast, aggregator pressure appeared to level off on our delivery orders in Q4, while carryout traffic was outstanding during the quarter, as our strategy to grow that business continues to pay off.“
Waitr to Lay Off 2,300 Drivers
Troubled food delivery service Waitr will lay off 2,300 delivery drivers in its home state of Louisiana, according to a notice filed with the state’s labor department. This announcement comes just a couple weeks after the service announced it would reclassify drivers as contract workers and pay them per delivery rather than per hour, as the old model dictated. The layoffs are effective April 6. A Waitr spokesperson said impacted drivers will be able to keep working as contracted drivers.
The Cheesecake Factory Is Finally Taking Yelp Reservations
Ever visit a Cheesecake Factory on a Friday at 7 p.m.? You’re lucky if you wait only an hour to get a table. Until now, that is. On a call with investors this week, the company announced it has partnered with Yelp to start offering limited seating reservations, meaning a certain number of tables will be set aside for reservations throughout the week.
This isn’t the most earth-shattering news out there today, but it does point to the work restaurants are currently doing to make the front-of-house experience more efficient and hopefully increase dine-in visits from customers. “One of the biggest hurdles for our guests can be our long wait times,” he said. “So we’re hoping this additional convenience will encourage guests who are more pressed for time to dine with us,” president David Gordon said on the call.