Why Delivery Is So Difficult for Some Big Restaurant Chains
We’ve been ordering food to our front doors for decades. And yet, some places still haven't figured out how to pull it off.
At an event Tuesday night, DoorDash founder and CEO Tony Xu explained that chain restaurants—such as DoorDash partner The Cheesecake Factory—face a few major problems when it comes to getting meals from the restaurants into vehicles and to your home.
Take The Cheesecake Factory, which Xu spoke about at the Recode event. At the chain’s Las Vegas location, a Dash delivery person has to contend with five floors of a shopping mall before making his or her way down to a vehicle.
To make delivering food from that location possible, "we had to figure out how to get a dedicated parking spot for the Dashers,” Xu said, adding that they also had to snag access to a special elevator to expedite the delivery process. “We had to figure out how to collate food from the bakery, the expo’d food center, the kitchen, as well as the drinks center,” he said. “And we had to do it all just for that one location.”
“To make that one order happen, lots of details have to go right,” let alone dozens of orders a day, Xu said. Restaurants also expect perfection from delivery services—something they’re still working to achieve.
“It has to be fast,” said David Gordon, The Cheesecake Factory’s president. “It has to be high quality—meaning hot or cold, appropriate. It has to hold up in the container it’s coming in.”
Take, Gordon said, a slice of cheesecake: It should be upright when it arrives at a patron’s door. “It shouldn’t be sitting on its side, it shouldn’t be upside-down,” he said. “It should look like the value that it is. All of that is very important to us.”
Only about five percent of restaurant’s sales come from online, the duo said. And yet, restaurant delivery services are only going to get more popular: DoorDash predicts it will expand its coverage to about 1,600 cities across the U.S. and Canada, Xu said.