Does your food promise match your diners’ needs and expectations?

Does your food promise match your diners’ needs and expectations?

In EP17 of my podcast Middle Management Movement, I interviewed Toni Clarke – long term Board member and Past Chair of the Foodservice Consultants Society International, Asia Pacific. We chatted about UberEats, Pop Ups and Precinct dining trends and from this conversation it got me thinking about what we are offering and is it meeting the needs and expectations of our diners presently and in the future in our Clubs, Hotels and Restaurants?

Presently, there are over 15,000 dining establishments partnering with UberEats around Australia as well as many other home food delivery services. In 2016 while attending the National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago I had the opportunity to see Jason Droege (Head of Uber Everything) present on the concept and how they were expanding throughout the world, which obviously they have successfully done and like so many other similar services continue to “pop up” in both cities and regional areas.

The change in people’s habits and lifestyles is ensuring that this “take out” concept is not a fad, but a trend that is becoming intrinsically part of our lives, particularly for those in the 25 – 40 year bracket. To be honest, as a self confessed “foodie” on the other side of 40, I presumed that these services catered for the traditional home delivery fast food service and have been pleasantly surprised to see that it has expanded into restaurants of “order on demand” not pre-made or pre-packaged.

I want to take a look at the progress of this home delivery service through the lens of a friend who was seconded to New York for two years, and over the last 18 months has shared her love of food, history and architecture on her Instagram blog twoby2blocks. This week’s extract got me thinking:

“…there are times when take-out is the only option. For instance you may find yourself totally jet lagged, the room service unappealing and you have no energy to wander the streets or you just don’t feel like cooking when you get home. Here in New York you can download a few apps – Caviar, Seamless, UberEats.   My research only was with Caviar as they seemed to have all my favourite restaurants – Union Square Café, Daily Provisions, Made Nice, Katz Deli, Rubirosa, Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones and Uncle Boons Sister. Over the 3 days of research my favourite was Made Nice. Super delicious and tasty and no wonder as the owners are from Eleven Madison Park – a three Michelin Star and No.4 Best Restaurant in the World 2018.”

My first thought was “if three Michelin Star restaurants are connecting with their diners through a food service delivery provider then what are our Clubs, Hotels, Casinos doing”? I know through my work with the Registered Club industry over the past two decades the focus is getting patrons to come to the venue, and not stay at home. However, for a moment I just want you to think outside of the square and look at how this service could provide an opportunity to your venue by connecting customers who may not normally be an onsite guest. See this as an opportunity for these customers to try your product, a teaser of what they can expect when they come to your venue, and when they do they will spend time enjoying your other facilities. But first, you need to hook them to come down and as we have seen over the past few years, food is the biggest driver in bringing people to venues.

According to Toni Clarke, this growing group of diners are on average ordering 2 -3 meals a week. So where and what are they eating the other nights – are they cooking themselves or are they going out? Is there a way you can offer a selection of your menu and work with these food service delivery providers?

The food is the “teaser” but it’s your people (team) that will have the biggest impact on them when they do visit. It is all about the experience that they provide the customer from the moment they enter your venue.

Some of you reading this article may well already be utilising this service or something similar to tease your customers. Mingara is a prime example where they created their artisan bakery and sell their bread products at local markets, creating an opportunity for people who do not normally attend the club the opportunity to taste their product, and if they wish to purchase more they then have to go to the venue. Of course they may not always stay and spend time and money, but I would presume that there would be many who would.

Like any new idea it’s about doing the research to see if it has “legs”. By surveying your existing members and guests as well as a sample from the broader community you will be ascertain through your questions if the idea receives a positive reaction and if it would be viable.

Analysis of the data should be undertaken by a group of individuals on the team. If there is one thing that I took away from my recent attendance at the Disney Institute Customer Experience Summit was “integration” when it came to designing a new ride that brought together team members who covered food, toys, operations, maintenance, rides bringing together the “silos”.   Who on your team would you bring together to analyse the research and commence early discussions? The only rule would be “no knocking down ideas, not saying “it’s been done before”, our patrons won’t like it”, instead be open minded you may decide to take on this new dimension to your food offering or components of the “home delivery food service”, whatever you do be a leader or a follower but don’t be a naysayer who finds themselves regretting that they didn’t do the research.

I look forward to ordering your food and having it home delivered soon.