Can I Have the Sommelier to Go?
In today’s on-demand world, convenience is more important than ever. But what happens when the trend envelops the hospitality industry, one that’s quite literally defined by welcoming guests?
As food and beverage–delivery mobile apps like GrubHub, DoorDash and UberEats continue to grow in popularity, higher-end restaurants are grappling with how to bring their caliber of service into customers’ homes—even for these service-based businesses, the trend has been difficult to ignore. Those who’ve adapted, however, are enjoying the benefits of an added revenue stream.
Once upon a time, if restaurants wanted to provide carryout or delivery services, they took the orders and dispatched drivers themselves. These new app-based businesses are now providing the labor, potentially making deliveries more efficient and more profitable for restaurants.
According to a Gallup poll this past July, 84% of U.S. adults say they order delivery or takeout at least once a month. And according to mobile market data company App Annie, the number of meals ordered on mobile devices rose 130% in the two-year period from 2016 to 2018. Over the same period, global downloads of the top five delivery apps increased 115%. A March 2018 report from Cohen Financial, a real-estate firm that analyzes industry trends, predicts that restaurant deliveries will increase at more than three times the rate of on-premise sales between 2018 and 2023, led by digital orders.
What about wine?
In some states, such as California, Minnesota, Illinois and Florida, customers can also order wine through these platforms, creating the added challenge of ensuring that the third-party carrier serves it exclusively to adults.
Chicago-based group Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises cautiously evaluated the security of each platform’s wine-delivery process before offering bottle lists for particularly wine-centric concepts such as Restaurant Award winners RPM Italian and RPM Steak.
“Whenever it was integral to the dining experience and we could guarantee safe service, we bundled them,” said wine director Richard Hanauer.
Still, brands like RPM and Bacchus Management Group say delivery orders account for a very small percentage of overall wine sales, finding that guests prefer to pull from their own stash rather than order bottles for delivery.