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Businesses The Almighty Buck

How Delivery Apps May Put Your Favorite Restaurant Out of Business (newyorker.com) 269

In a piece this month, The New Yorker argues that online food discovery and delivery platforms are bad for restaurants. From the report: In recent years, online platforms like Uber Eats, Seamless, and GrubHub (which merged with Seamless, in 2013) have turned delivery from a small segment of the restaurant industry, dominated by pizza, to a booming new source of sales for food establishments of all stripes. When the average consumer logs in to the Caviar app to order a Mulberry & Vine salad for the office or a grain bowl on the way home from work, she might reasonably assume that her order is benefitting the restaurant's bottom line. But Gauthier, like many other restaurant owners I've spoken to in recent months, paints a more complicated picture. "We know for a fact that as delivery increases, our profitability decreases," she said. For each order that Mulberry & Vine sends out, between twenty and forty per cent of the revenue goes to third-party platforms and couriers. (Gauthier initially had her own couriers on staff, but, as delivery volumes grew, coordinating them became unmanageable.) Calculating an order's exact profitability is tricky, Gauthier said, but she estimated that in the past three years Mulberry & Vine's over-all profit margin has shrunk by a third, and that the only obvious contributing factor is the shift toward delivery.

How Delivery Apps May Put Your Favorite Restaurant Out of Business

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  • by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @02:46PM (#56104965)

    Reading this article [washingtoncitypaper.com] will give you a good feel for how dependent restaurants are on beer/liquor sales to stay afloat.

    Delivery of food with no high-margin drinks wrecks that model. In a world where you can order any combination of items alone, each item has to be priced reasonably.

    • each item has to be priced reasonably

      Can't quite see what's the downside here.

      As long as there's no collusion between competitors in the delivery chain (helloooo Visa vs MasterCard, competing networks my ass), it's a clear win for the customers. Food can't (yet...) be DRMed, so no ink cartridge refill schemes.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <<ten.frow> <ta> <todhsals>> on Monday February 12, 2018 @03:38AM (#56106785)

      Reading this article will give you a good feel for how dependent restaurants are on beer/liquor sales to stay afloat.

      Delivery of food with no high-margin drinks wrecks that model. In a world where you can order any combination of items alone, each item has to be priced reasonably.

      Funny how it doesn't apply in Canada, because the liquor laws are much tougher that few restaurants are licensed to serve. Basically, every licensed restaurant must have every server trained in alcohol handling (can't serve too much, and heaven help you if you serve a minor), and the courts have ruled that "hosts" are liable - if a drunk patron leaves and kills/injures someone, the restaurant or bar serving them is actually liable for damages as well.

      So yes, there are licensed establishments, but most restaurants aren't licensed and thus can only serve non-alcoholic drinks (water, pop, etc).

      And it turns out most restaurants don't bother screwing you over with drinks - sure maybe $1.50 for a pop is a bit pricey, but it's not so over the top (and the water's always free).

      We don't have wildly expensive food prices either - in fact, apparently Vancouver is one of the cheapest places to eat out - just because there is so much competition.

      The only places that really do overcharge are "fine dining" establishments, but those were already expensive from the get-go.

      So delivery services are really an extension of the takeout model - and given some restaurants do nothing but takeout, they seem to do OK. The profits from drink sales really should be used to pay for services if you eat in - servers, dish washers, etc, but takeout doesn't incur any of that.

      I see this hurting those specialty destination restaurants that make dining "an experience" by hoity-toity celebrity chefs and big names where you might drop $200 for a meal. The more run of the mill places serving the general public for lunch downtown and all that (i.e., lunch for $10-15 max), aren't going to suffer much, if at all - given takeout is a big part of their sales.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 11, 2018 @02:49PM (#56104973)

    "between twenty and forty per cent of the revenue goes to third-party platforms and couriers. (Gauthier initially had her own couriers on staff, but, as delivery volumes grew, coordinating them became unmanageable.)

      that the only obvious contributing factor is the shift toward delivery."

    So they decided to pay 20-40% to have other people co-ordinate, and now they are complaining.

    • They pay to be on the app. Having your own website only works if people come to it, and a lot of people just use apps.

      Platforms like this as undermining the idea of a free internet with a level playing field. It's not new either - try setting up an online store but not being on Amazon, Etsy, eBay etc. Unless you already have huge brand recognition it doesn't work.

      • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @05:43PM (#56105545) Journal
        That’s a large part of the problem. There’s this popular restaurant review and reservation site that’s been around for a good while. At first they were quite useful and charged only a small fee to restaurant owners. Then they started to charge a percentage for each reservation, and as the site grew in popularity, that percentage increased, by quite a bit. As did the terms and conditions: prices on the site must be the lowest, no advertising on competing platforms, that sort of thing. Some restaurant owners took their place off the site... and saw the number of diners plummet. But recently they banded together, and the Restaurant Business Association (of which most restaurants are a member) launched their own reservation site without reviews (which were useless anyway), with many members pulling out of the commercial site.

        I can see something similar happening with delivery services. Already, many delivery boys will ask you to order direct from their own site next time, instead of one of the popular (and increasingly expensive) 3rd party takeout services. Per the terms and conditions of those services they are not allowed to do this, but they do so anyway just to keep their margins up... while passing some of the savings on to the customer. For small restaurants, these delivery services are very convenient but they are pricing themselves out of the market... as restaurant owners discover that they do have other options.
        • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @10:21PM (#56106323)

          Already, many delivery boys will ask you to order direct from their own site next time, instead of one of the popular (and increasingly expensive) 3rd party takeout services.

          I do a similar thing when buying stuff online. Unless another website contributed significantly in helping me find or select the product I end up buying, I take steps to find and erase the referring affiliate info in the URL. When a website describing a product gives you a courtesy link to an online store, it's not just for your convenience. That link sets themselves as the affiliate who referred you to the store, and if you end up buying something the store pays the affiliate a percentage for the referral.

          Unfortunately these things have grown like a secret underground black market. Search engines, malware, cash back sites, and even credit card purchasing programs fight to code their websites to erase other affiliates' referrals and replace it with their own. So if I already knew I was going to buy the product from a certain store, I take steps to erase any affiliate ID so the store can keep all the money I pay them. If a certain website substantially helped me select the product (like a review site), I will take steps to make sure they get the referral.

      • by pots ( 5047349 )
        Exactly. Those apps aren't as bad as Groupon (50% cut from an already deep discount), but taking a significant percentage in a business with already thin margins will kill it.
  • by innocent_white_lamb ( 151825 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @02:56PM (#56105009)

    It seems obvious to me that if delivery isn't profitable, your business shouldn't be offering it.

    "Enjoy our fantastic food in a friendly atmosphere tailored for your enjoyment."

    A real restaurant is a different business than someone hauling food down the street in a cardboard box on a bicycle. Just like a movie theatre is a different business than a video rental shop.

    • Or charge a realistic markup for delivery. Call it a “Seamless surcharge” and set it to match the real cost. I would also like to see a takeout discount for not using up valuable dining space.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @03:20PM (#56105075) Journal

        Note i am not making any kind of moral judgement here. If what most consumers want is 'prepared food delivered to your door' and you are in the food service industry you'd better figure out how to meet that demand or you will be left behind by someone who does. Alternatively maybe you can carve out a niche space for yourself for people who still want to 'go somewhere' but a niche means exactly that, a small market where only a few of the best can thrive.

        That said I understand the trepidation the middle tear restaurateur probably feels right now. Its not just the costs of delivery. Its the other higher margin up sells like, that second beer or another cocktail your wait staff convinces the customer, he'd enjoy it and after all he is celebrating! Or the the $6 2oz cheese cake in a cup that is decadent but not two decadent and hey girl your deserve it!

        You loose the opportunity to make a lot of those sales with deliver and take out. My assumption is most restaurant dishes are not loss leaders but at least at a lot of the places I tend to each there is clearly more margin on some of those ancillaries than on the main plate items. Given a competitive market place you might not have the pricing power to raise tab on main plates either. You are competing with the places that have decided not to follow the new trend in the mean time, at least for the traditional portion of the business. Ultimately you might be re-aligning in the right way but that can mean some short term pain. Lots of restaurants are more or less hand to mouth, they may not be able to weather the changes at all and those that can might not be able to afford a misstep.

      • I would also like to see a takeout discount for not using up valuable dining space.

        They already have that. It is called "not tipping".

        You are expected to tip a server or a deliverer. But if you place a phone order, and pick it up yourself, no tip is expected.

      • by kenh ( 9056 )

        I would also like to see a takeout discount for not using up valuable dining space.

        All that unused "valuable dining space" has no value if the restaurant isn't busy. If the restaurant is packed and your takeout meal ADDs to the revenue, we have something to talk about, but all the packaging, condiments, and delivery add to the cost, and likely far exceed your imagined "savings" from not occupying a table in the dining room, using reusable silverware/plates, etc. Lets not forget the college students that work as waitresses and waiters that need tip money you aren't giving them to help meet

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The problem is that online makes a commodity out of everything. The delivery services are positioning themselves as middlemen and will make the restaurants essentially anonymous and interchangeable. With commoditization comes price pressure. Intuitively you'd think that the competition would create a meritocracy where restaurants can attract customers with quality, but like with everything else online, there are going to be a small number of "winners" who take the top spots, and a long tail of "losers", all

    • It seems obvious to me that if delivery isn't profitable, your business shouldn't be offering it.

      If it is "obvious" to you, then you should try to learn more about how businesses work.

      Takeout is marginally profitable. But it doesn't generate enough net profit to cover fixed costs such as rent. If you stop offering takeout, you will lose those orders, and the marginal profit, and your overall net profit will fall.

      "Enjoy our fantastic food in a friendly atmosphere tailored for your enjoyment."

      Good luck with that. When I order takeout, it is because I don't have the time to either cook or sit and wait in a restaurant. I am looking for good quick food, not "ambiance".

  • Drinks? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think that most of a restaurant's profit comes from serving drinks. Home delivery really cuts into this high profit item.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      I think that most of a restaurant's profit comes from serving drinks. Home delivery really cuts into this high profit item.

      And why shouldn't restaurants be allowed to deliver drinks?
      It's not like two drinks delivered is going to cause alcohol problems - those who drink enough booze to have a problem aren't going to buy high priced single drinks to go with their meals anyhow.

      • by kenh ( 9056 )

        And why shouldn't restaurants be allowed to deliver drinks?
        It's not like two drinks delivered is going to cause alcohol problems

        The profit isn't in just alcohol, it's in the $3 soda (with free refills!) that costs the restaurant owner a couple nickels that generates the most profit.

        When people order-in, they tend to not order over-priced soft drinks with their food, when they dine-in, they do. A take-out order likely costs the average restaurant $2 in lost soft drink profit per entrée.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          When people order-in, they tend to not order over-priced soft drinks with their food, when they dine-in, they do.

          When I order delivery, I usually order a bottle or two of soda too.
          If I could have ordered a couple of beers instead, I would have, but that's illegal where I live.

          • But most people don't bother ordering drinks for home delivery if they already have some at home.

            • by arth1 ( 260657 )

              But most people don't bother ordering drinks for home delivery if they already have some at home.

              Surely the same goes for food?

              • Food generally takes a lot more effort and preparation than drinks. Hence the market for food delivery. It's cheaper to order groceries from the supermarket and make your own food.

  • ...but volume is better, they seem to be saying.

  • dirty secrets (Score:4, Informative)

    by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1.hotmail@com> on Sunday February 11, 2018 @03:21PM (#56105077)
    Everyone should really read this article to know the kind of bullshit that these apps are inserting into the restaurant business. You may love the convenience, but they're 0-value adding middlemen that are sucking the restaurant dry: http://tribecacitizen.com/2016... [tribecacitizen.com]

    Seamless, for example, not only takes a commission on every purchase (even if you would just call up the restaurant on an ongoing basis, and not being a new customer) -- the telephone numbers you sometimes see for a restaurant are actually Seamless's number, piped through their system to the restaurant. And they monitor transactions to make sure they're getting their cut.

    Technology is great and all, but you should realize the ways that people use it to take advantage of those who aren't the masters of it.
    • Re:dirty secrets (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @03:42PM (#56105127) Journal

      but they're 0-value adding middlemen

      Except that isn't really true is it. You might not find much value in it personally. I would agree when at home I know what restaurants are around and can just easily pick up the phone or go to their websites directly; assuming I wanted to order ahead or get something delivered.

      On the other hand when traveling its a different matter. Frequently I get into some city or part of city I have never been to before. I don't always rent a car if I am only visiting a client for day or two. So I have taken a cab or uber to a hotel. Gee something to eat would be nice... So seeing all my options in once place IS of value. It is something I as a consumer want.

    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      but they're 0-value adding middlemen

      What is your explanation for why people use these apps if they add no value?

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @03:30PM (#56105099)

    I will order food to go on occasion; but I am just as happy picking it up myself as opposed to having some third party deliver it.

    I find human interaction interesting and enjoyable, most of the time... but maybe I'm in the minority. Plus my experience with a lot of these dot-com-two-point-oh businesses has left a bad impression with me, given how poorly they treat their employees - so I'm not motivated to contribute to those businesses' survival.

    • I have to agree with you. It's not so much for the interaction as it is just to get out and go for a little drive.
    • Also, when you pick up the food yourself, you are much more likely to get fresh, hot food than you are if you have it delivered.

  • Increase the delivery fee?

    "I think it’s a far bigger problem than a lot of operators realize,” she told me. “I think we are losing money on delivery orders, or, best-case scenario, breaking even.”

    You are selling two products: food and the delivery thereof. Being a restaurant for a while, the economics of food should be known already. If delivery is costing you more than it makes you, then you need to charge more for it. I don't see how all of these people are so confused.

    It is possib

    • by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @03:50PM (#56105151)

      Or make the food for delivery in a cheaper place than a high-rent kitchen of the original restaurant. Find some non-retail place a few blocks away from the restaurant and set up the delivery kitchen there. Maybe even do some prep for the restaurant kitchen there too. Rent will be cheaper and will allow you to create more delivery meals. This would lower the per meal costs and increase the profitability.

      • This means opening a second place with a second staffing. second lease to pay. That means extra cost. If you want to open a second business, because your kitchen can not handle any more customers, that might be a valid option. If your business does so well, opening a second restaurant wpuld make more money.

  • When the GF decides that ordering in is a 'date' and suitable I might begin to worry. In the meantime she likes to go out to eat without the daughter and it is a special occasion, I don't see our favorite Chinese place suffering, or the steak house down the road serving everything ala-car for 50 years now. Fast food joints don't want you there already as evinced by the drive though. I also don't like eating cold food so I much prefer it at the table in the restaurant vs cold delivered to my house.

  • You can't win.

    You can't break even.

    You can't even quit the game.

  • This is part of the long-going trend of millennial's moving away from casual dinning, to saving money for splurging on Instagram worthy "experience" dinning. Practically all casual dinning chains have been experiencing declining in-store traffic for the past decade. As in any competitive industry, they must adapt to the consumers ever-chaning preferences or risk being left in the dust. In NYC we have started seeing the rise of the delivery-only establishments. The delivery apps allow them to advertise and s
    • All that will happen is the interesting places will fade away and we will be left with a handful of large chains to order 'food' from.
  • For delivery meals, they don't have to pay for the place where the table sits, the china, the plates, flowers, lighting, heating, busboy, maître d'hotel, reservations, cleaning dishes etc.
    They can do all that in a container on a parking lot.

  • Like that episode of South Park, internet apps do not help much to the local kitchens except for letting users discover new restaurants. Yelp, and let me assume TripAdvisor too, is known to ransom restaurants that do not pay, and what I would tell the most profitable delivery management house in my area takes around 15% of the bill. Note that the 15% does not generally include the delivery service. Some of the delivery people tell me that the restaurant prefers if you use the restaurant web page.
  • The gig economy is simply a sidestep of regulation. We're fools if we ignore it, but we're screwing people if we don't use it. I can take a cab, pay more, wait longer, and get taken for a longer drive to raise the rate, but at least the cabby makes a passable wage. Alternatively, I can take a rideshare, pay less, get there quicker, not get screwed, but I'm screwing the driver over.

    Airbnb is screwing over hotels and neighbors.

    Restaurant delivery services screw over restaurants.

    Grumble.

    • that's what made Uber & Lyft work. Cabby work has been the domain of immigrants for decades because of how they're abused. They're usually in lease arrangements with the owner of the car and/or token that effectively pays them less than minimum wage. It was easy to look the other way at Uber/Lyft's worker abuse because it was significantly less than what most cab companies do to their drivers.

      Missing from this conversation though was the crazy, out there notion of not letting _any_ company abuse wor
      • that's what made Uber & Lyft work. Cabby work has been the domain of immigrants for decades because of how they're abused. They're usually in lease arrangements with the owner of the car and/or token that effectively pays them less than minimum wage. It was easy to look the other way at Uber/Lyft's worker abuse because it was significantly less than what most cab companies do to their drivers. Missing from this conversation though was the crazy, out there notion of not letting _any_ company abuse workers. The working class lacks solidarity though. If we were smart we're realize that when one of us suffers we all do...

        The Working Class lacks solidarity because the wealthy keeps us divided and infighting. The wealthy tell the poor white man that he is better off than the black man - the wealthy white man cajoles the poor white man into believing that the black man is lazy or intellectually inferior. This was why Jim Crowism happened in the South. Today, the wealthy white men convince the working class that the immigrants are to blame and that immigrants are responsible for crime and stealing jobs. It is history repeating

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

          I think you are missing part of the picture though. Uber, and Lyft are essentially brokerages. Today we think of our stock broker as that jerk who just takes %2 of everything for pushing a few buttons or e-trade grabbing $12 every time *I* have an idea. The truth is we have government to thank for that nonsense. I can't buy securities on my own because of stupid out dated regulation. Originally though the broker was very very useful (and actually still is) Having a broker enabled you to invest in busin

      • Yes, abusing workers is wrong. No, Lyft and Uber don't prevent the abuse of workers. In fact, they promote abuse by treating their employees as independent contractors. They're pure middlemen providing little value. Local governments have often looked the other way because they don't always have the deep pockets needed to fight, and because taxis have been so poorly regulated, their quality was abysmal, making consumers prefer the ride shares. Just look at London. Cab drivers have to memorize the enti

    • The gig economy is simply a sidestep of regulation. We're fools if we ignore it, but we're screwing people if we don't use it. I can take a cab, pay more, wait longer, and get taken for a longer drive to raise the rate, but at least the cabby makes a passable wage. Alternatively, I can take a rideshare, pay less, get there quicker, not get screwed, but I'm screwing the driver over.

      Airbnb is screwing over hotels and neighbors.

      Restaurant delivery services screw over restaurants.

      Grumble.

      Mod the parent op! The gig/micro job economy is going to be our undoing.

    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )

      How dare someone provide better service at lower cost? No, they must be reined in!

      If you really feel strongly about supporting the traditional businesses, make it possible for them to compete by removing minimum wage laws. If you also feel strongly about giving the lower class a way out, support universal basic income, public health care and public education.

      You can't both live in a free society and also prevent willing buyers and willing sellers from coming together. Uber drivers want to drive and Airbnb hosts want to rent out their property. Their customers want their service. Unle

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @04:43PM (#56105361)

    If delivery detracts from it, don't do it.

    Many restaurants are notoriously poorly managed. That's why they go out of business so fast even though they appear to be popular. Those that have a better handle on their expenses and cash flow will spot the loses and act to cut them off quickly.

    Also, know your business. If a part of what you are selling is atmosphere, then sending the food out doesn't fit your plan. Don't do it.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @04:49PM (#56105383)
    declining wages are. Inflation for me is about 3% (that's real inflation, e.g. the % my expenses go up each year, it doesn't help me that the price of a $100k sports car only went up $1000 this year when food goes up 3%). Meanwhile my pay goes up 2% a year on average (and I'm one of the lucky ones).

    I eat out less and less often because I can't afford to. Meanwhile the restaurants prices have gone up because they have fewer patrons who can afford it. So an OK Chinese buffet that used to be $10 + tip is now $25 + tip. The gyro place where I get a gyro + fries is now $15+ tip. I can't spend $20-$30 bucks on one meal.
  • Movie Theatre
    ========
    Get dressed up
    Fight traffic, or pay transit/taxi, to get there
    Pay for parking if you take car
    Stand in line to get tickets
    Grossly overpay for popcorn and pop
    Fight traffic, or pay transit/taxi, to get home

    Watch At Home
    =========
    Go to local grocery store to get decently priced popcorn and pop
    Watch Netflix movie at home on largescreen TV

    similarly...

    Dine Out
    =====
    Get dressed up
    Fight traffic, or pay transit/taxi (recommended), to get there
    Pay for parking if you take car (not recommended)
    Stand i

  • You can deliver out of a kitchen. Restaurants are set up for a whole host of environmental (and regulatory) costs. Servers, cutlery, decoration, doors, salting the winter walkway, tables, front cash, and all of the square footage to house patrons, including bathrooms and hvac.

    No surprise that delivery services cut restaurant profits. There's no up-selling, no tips, and I'll bet no liquor.

  • Business (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @05:22PM (#56105501) Homepage

    "Gauthier initially had her own couriers on staff, but, as delivery volumes grew, coordinating them became unmanageable"

    Sounds like you overreached and grew so big you couldn't get the same profitability percentage anyway...

    Try this... go back to your own couriers, and only accepting the same percentage of orders as you used to. Or hiring a fleet manager to sort out your in-house deliveries, saving you a huge percentage for a single wage.

    But I guess you wouldn't do either of those as you know it has little to do with anything - business changes, either adapt or get shut out. And, to be honest, of all the business failures I've ever seen, you can see them for a long time lingering and building up on the balance sheet and being ignored.

    If delivery costs too much... stop delivery. If the profitability is dropping, find another profit. If the food is good, to the point that you couldn't manage the deliveries, it should be easy.

    Or, alternatively, take the profits you're getting and embrace the delivery culture. What's costing you most money? I would guess your premises. I've yet to see one but I see no problem with a food delivery business listed on those kinds of sites that has no physical restaurant presence you can visit. Literally operate as a food preparation and delivery company via those apps, with token presence wherever you need to prove catchment.

    The Internet kills a lot of businesses, but almost always through providing a better service. You can't fight against that, only evolve and embrace it.

    I could honestly and seriously live the rest of my live without having to visit a single shop, takeaway restaurant (maybe a proper sit-down restaurant for family meals etc.), supplier, provider, hell I could even book someone to cut to my house to cut my hair if I wanted. And the beauty is that such facilities provide me with MORE opportunity to get out and do other things much more classed as leisure (e.g. lounge in a nice restaurant) than before... it's optimisation of your life.

    I have actually found it cheaper and much more convenient for me to pre-book a guy to drive to my workplace, change my car tyre with a model I choose online down to the exact specifications and brand, and bill me for that than it is to find a garage that's open after work hours, book it in, knock back all the upsell, take it there, wait while they do it, then drive home.

    Time is money, now more than ever. And with food, especially, it's quicker and easier to take some buttons on the way home knowing by the time you get there your pre-paid food will arrive within minutes of you getting in (or even beat you there!). You can't compete against such things, but you could make an awful lot of money pre-empting and embracing them.

  • by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @05:44PM (#56105549) Journal

    If profits are down, the walk-in traffic must be down - presumably because some are taking delivery now. This is to be expected. You get into the delivery business precisely because, if you don't, someone else will. Then you'd just be left with the declining restaurant revenue that I suspect is the real problem here.

    The delivery business doesn't require the seating area, wait staff, parking lot, etc. All of that and the storefront can go away. If you want to understand your business expenses, you need to separate the books and don't put anything on the delivery business' costs that it doesn't need. That 20-40% revenue that goes to the delivery costs is its equivalent of the storefront and wait staff. It shouldn't have to shoulder both.

    Eventually, I think the seating area disappears and all you have is a delivery business.

    This comes full circle when someone creates restaurant seating areas with drink service but no kitchens and facilitates easy ordering from any nearby delivery kitchens. This will allow groups a place to meet and dine while allowing the individuals to order from anywhere they want. The product of the dining rooms will be space, atmosphere, wait staff for drinks and cleanup, etc. There won't be as many seats in this system because most will prefer to have their food delivered to work, home, whatever park they are sitting in, etc.

  • The gig economy is perilously fast race to the bottom. At some point, there is going to be a massive market correction. This massive correction is going to result in the collapse of the social and economic fabric. Human beings can only take so much suffering before they rise up. History shows time and again that once the wealthy and corrupt have gone too far, chaos ensues.
  • It's because the restaurant can't charge me $4 per person for soft drinks.

  • Most of the restaurants in my area are constantly busy and are clearly making plenty of money while the other retail around them suffers from reduced business. I welcome more competition that might cause them to offer better service and prices to attract my business. Right now it's a seller's market.

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