Over the weekend I was working on repainting the front porch on my house. It was a project that I had put off over the last year, but it needed to be done before another Minnesota winter rolls in. Starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday and wrapping up at about 7 p.m., it was a long day of scraping, sanding and priming. By the time I finished and put things away, I was covered in dust and primer—and was exhausted. I had nothing prepared for dinner, and everyone in the house was getting hungry. Before my wife could even ask what I had planned, I was already scrolling through my phone and checking out the delivery apps to find something the whole family would like. It was a delivery night.

Getting food delivered (other than pizza) was not a common occurrence in our house before the pandemic, however, during the pandemic it became just that. It was something we would do a few times a month. We did it because we wanted to “eat out” even when we couldn’t go out. We did it because we wanted to continue to support our local restaurants. We did it because it was an easy way to get the family dinner.

The convenience of searching for the food on our phones and ordering without leaving the couch became something we not only got used to, but started to look forward to. And before I start to receive angry emails from folks that don’t agree with the delivery fees or business practices, let me say that I fully understand that the off-premises model creates challenges for restaurant operators, especially now that dining rooms have reopened. That said, the growth of off-premises during the pandemic is not simply a fad that will go away, but rather part of the new business model that restaurant operators and we as an industry need to embrace. Love it or hate it, it is here to stay.

I have spent the last three years also working on our sister brand, Food On Demand—a digital media entity with an annual conference focused specifically on the off-premises side of the restaurant and foodservice markets. Over these last three years, I have heard stories of success and frustration. I have seen new ideas succeed, along with failures and struggles. Adapting your business to become successful both inside the restaurant’s walls as well as beyond your walls is hard. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. These challenges are precisely why we created Food On Demand.

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If you are looking to grow your restaurant and maximize off-premises sales, I invite you to join us this November 10-12 for the annual Food On Demand Conference in Las Vegas. We will be hosting hundreds of attendees and over 60 industry leading exhibitors for three days of networking and education about the topics of delivery, takeout, catering, virtual restaurants, ghost kitchens and more. Visit www.foodondemandnews.com to learn about the conference and register—just click on the conference tab. We would love to see you there!

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