Feedback: August 2016

by Sarah Groen, Frank Lara, David Long

Question: “To go” has been a growing part of the restaurant industry. The delivery side of that has largely been focused on pizza, but there seems to be increasing interest in expanding this aspect of the food service industry. What is your take on this trend, and how are you responding to it?

Feedback_SarahGroenSarah Groen

General Manager
Uber
Sector: Transportation

With the advent of smartphone apps, we know that consumers are increasingly inclined to use their mobile device for on-demand services. Food delivery is no exception.

Knowing this, our team at Uber sought a way to use our ridesharing technology to provide access to food from favorite local restaurants, at the push of a button. Months later, UberEATS was served! 

Fundamentally, UberEATS utilizes technology to expand the “to go” aspect of the food service industry, creating a new way for people to get the food they love, using their smartphone app.

It also opens up new economic opportunities for drivers who hope to make some extra money. And most importantly, as consumers yearn for more convenience than ever, UberEATS allows restaurants to take part in the rapidly growing on-demand economy by connecting them to more customers.

Sarah Groen is passionate about building and growing innovative companies that expand economic opportunity. She is currently a general manager at Uber in charge of UberEATS in Phoenix and Houston. Groen previously served as a vice president at a technology-focused oil service company and as co-founder and director of SURGE, a startup accelerator. She holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BBA in finance from University of Texas Austin.

Feedback_Frank-Lara_ChompiesFrank Lara

VP of Operations
Chompie’s
Sector: Restaurant

Chompie’s looks at all possible revenue streams, including delivery. Food quality and speed were some of our big concerns, as well as managing the operations. We decided it was much easier to outsource delivery than to have another department manage it. We wouldn’t have to worry about drivers, vehicles and the problems associated with that.

We researched and found that the DoorDash service had a strong, logistical way of ensuring hot food and quick service. Its limited range of service around each of our restaurants means food won’t sit for 20–25 minutes, as it had with previous delivery companies. We found that has worked very well for customer service and guest satisfaction.

Finding a good delivery program has been a good venture for Chompie’s. We are actually reaching people we know we would not normally get any business from. We’ve seen delivery revenues increase 200 percent in the last six months. The program is still in its infancy, but we don’t see the demand for delivery slowing down anytime in the near future.

Frank Lara has worked with Chompie’s since 1982, learning the industry from the trenches as a dishwasher and into his role as Vice President of Operations. He is an Arizona native who has seen Phoenix and its restaurant industry expand exponentially in his nearly 35 years in the business. 

Feedback_DavidLongDavid Long

Co-Owner and VP of Business Development
Blue Mountain Restaurant Services
Sector: Restaurant

We launched our delivery service in May as a direct result of feedback we received from our Corner Bakery Café customers in Tempe. Many of our customers are the professionals who work in the downtown office complexes, and it is either too hot or they are too busy to leave for breakfast or lunch.

We investigated a number of third-party delivery services but, ultimately, we decided to handle the program ourselves. We wanted to ensure that once food left our restaurant it would promptly make it to our customers with the same high quality we offer in the café.

We spent several months testing various processes, packaging and delivery methods, and ended up getting a golf cart because it can quickly get to most of the places our customers work. We are now making dozens of deliveries each week and demand continues to grow. A small portion of that business has cannibalized counter traffic, but it has been incremental.

David Long joined Blue Mountain Restaurant Services, which operates Corner Bakery Café, in 2012 and is responsible for both marketing and business development. Prior to joining the company, he was a retained executive search consultant focused on recruiting corporate officers and board members for a variety of global clients in both the high-tech and consumer brand sectors. Long earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Brigham Young University and an M.B.A. from the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. He resides in Phoenix.

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