Death of the FOH. Maybe?
Springsteen said, 'Poor man wanna rich - rich man wanna be King; and the King ain't satisfied 'til he rules everything!' In New York City, there's a rat race in motion for the Delivery Kingdom's dominance and it does not show signs of slowing down. The stage is set with restaurant Royalty (David Chang, Maple, Ando) and emerging Nobles (Blue Summit Group, Delivery Only) looking to rapidly expand into new neighborhoods while retaining the integrity of their food and service quality one order at a time.
So, is the FOH being phased out? Not yet. However, with growing restrictions and increases in wage requirements, the dining marketplace seems to be humming along to the tune of ordering-in for quality cuisine, from the comfort of their desk or couch.
What's up for grabs in this new era of dining? We sat down with Delivery Only, a Financial District based concept that is just in their 8th month of operations to learn a bit more about their pedigree.
Why did you start 'D|O'? 'There’s a huge void to fill in ordering out. Until recently, everyone doing delivery was focused on their dining room and just stuffing the brown bags and sent it out. No consideration toward travel times, quality of product, or the long forgotten idea of service. It’s simple: we couldn’t get a decent meal to the apartment.' said Tim Powell, Partner & Owner.
So what's the new, special sauce? 'I don’t think that delivery is necessarily the “new” way to dine. Data shows that delivery has been present for years. Come on, it’s New York! This is how we eat half of the time. The difference today is that some of us just want to make it better. No rocket science there - just a new focus.' said Mr. Powell
Tackling Goliath. "Delivery Only faces two main challenges: 3rd party ordering platforms (whom take large percentage cuts of each processed order) and competition (re: Maple) who have a considerable marketing budget and have accelerated outside their FiDi roots and into new boroughs. So we asked, 'What makes Delivery Only a bit different?' Mr. Powell: 'We never set out to serve the masses with a "disruptive” Uber-like concept. We’ve always known who we are and our commitment to a great product first and followed with real sincerity and care in our service. This isn’t possible in these other models. We will stick with the “made to order” model and grow the old fashioned way, customer-by-customer.'
With market demand comes competition. Restaurants are doing whatever they can to circumvent the pains associated with operating the FOH and customers have realized that they can get amazing meals without having to disrupt their busy lives. They can get it right on their couch, watching their 'shows', checking their Instagram feed, and cuddling with their cat.