The chain known for serving skewers of meat tableside is also working on plant-based options.

By Mike Pomranz
May 30, 2019
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In recent years, delivery has become an increasingly important part of the restaurant industry thanks to the rise of online and mobile ordering (as well as younger generations’ affinity for chilling at home). But some restaurants aren’t as fitting for delivery, right? Like Chuck E. Cheese, for instance. Don’t people go to see an animatronic mouse, not for the pizza? Maybe — but that mouse offers delivery. And in a less extreme example, what about Brazilian steakhouses? Isn’t half the fun watching the servers walk around with giant skewers of meat? Apparently not. The popular chain Fogo de Chão recently revealed it hopes that delivery could become a major part of its business as soon as next year.

In a recent discussion with Nation’s Restaurant News, Fogo de Chão CEO Barry McGowan said that the chain plans to begin testing in-house delivery of customizable selections of both churrascaria (almost certainly not hand-delivered on giant skewers) and market table options by the end of the year in three cities: probably Chicago and Dallas, as well as one unnamed market. From there, he said a nationwide rollout is likely by 2020. Fogo de Chão has over 40 locations across the U.S., and for the record, already offers catering services for groups.

In explaining the brand’s reasoning, McGowan essentially implied that the chain had little choice if they wanted to keep growing sales. “All of our positive comps this year are due to price and off-premise while traffic in restaurants is declining,” the CEO told NRN. “We know that’s an issue. If you’re convenient, you do well. If you’re experiential, you do well and that’s what we are right now. Pretty soon if you want us in your office or home, we can do that, or if you want us to bring a grill [and start cooking] at your event, we will be able to do that too.”

Meanwhile, delivery isn’t the only trend Fogo de Chão is trying to keep up with. “We’ve been working on plant-based proteins for about two years,” McGowan was also quoted as saying. “Our price includes everything, so why wouldn’t we offer that? There’s no risk.”

Yes, in the near future, a rodizio Brazilian steakhouse might be able to deliver preselected fake meat directly to your door. It’s probably not the most authentic churrascaria experience, but apparently it’s the one more people want to see.

Update May 31: A previous version of this article included Los Angeles as a potential test market per a quote from CEO Barry McGowan, which the brand clarified was a misstatement. The article has been corrected to reflect the newly provided information.

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