When dining in at restaurants was an impossibility during the pandemic, the option to have Olive Garden breadsticks delivered while I enjoyed a movie on my couch was a comfort. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports the OG and other chain restaurants like it might be limiting delivery options in order to re-focus on in-person diners.
Delivery and pickup were, for several months, the best way for businesses to keep going and for people to continue enjoying their favorite meals. Now that people are making their way back to restaurants and other larger gatherings, it makes sense that off-site customers might not be the main focus anymore.
Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s, IHOP, and other chains are included in the growing list of restaurants making changes to their delivery and pickup options. Many chains are no longer accepting delivery or pickup orders during their peak hours. For example, some Applebee’s locations are not accepting evening delivery orders and IHOP is doing the same on weekends.
Food and Wine reported that many issues contribute to this shift, such as the fact that off-premise orders are less profitable and staffing shortages are still a struggle industry-wide. Juggling both in-person customers and online orders during busy hours while being understaffed sounds like a nightmare. So, no matter which type of diner you are, it’s absolutely necessary to have patience with workers preparing your order.
Though these problems are real, restaurants shouldn’t jump ship on delivery and pickup so quickly. Considering the battle to get vaccination rates up and the discovery of new variants, it isn’t unreasonable to think that some states may end up restricting restaurant dining rooms again at some point. By now I know people are sick of hearing this is “the new normal,” but I do think we are moving into a time when a variety dining experiences will be the safest bet for success.