(WMAR) - Who doesn’t love a real meal delivered to the office following a morning full of meetings or delectable dishes delivered to the door at the end of a long day? There’s no doubt, delivery is where it’s at in the restaurant biz these days with movers and shakers stirring things up well beyond traditional takeout.
We’re talking restaurant-quality food delivered from restaurants that aren’t restaurants at all. They’re E-restaurants with food from a facility that can only be ordered online.
Take Àlacarte Delivery. “Consumers cannot come inside the restaurant and place an order. It's done either by their phone on an app or either at their desktop,” says Ken Ray, Àlacarte’s founder. “
Confused? Think of it this way. Just like you have E-commerce sites for clothes and shoes that have no brick and mortar stores, the same thing is now happening with food delivery.
Àlacarte runs a delivery-only operation with different food concepts working out of the same commissary-style kitchen. He says, “The consumer can order from 16 different brands. The mom wants pizza, the dad wants sushi and the kids want Mexican. Now, they can order everything together, and it’s prepared, packaged and shipped together.”
Online or virtual restaurants are popping up and they all work a speck differently. Some deal with cyber-only brands. Others work with existing restaurants that want to test new concepts.
No matter how they work, you order through some of the many food-delivery app services …including giant Grubhub. “We've been able to help partner with restaurants who have delivery only kitchens to provide an experience that works for both the diners and the restaurants,” says Grubhub COO Stan Chia.
Grubhub says technology and food have found the perfect recipe, that delivery platforms can track what customers like –and don’t like—so that restaurants can adjust menus. Chia says, “I think this it's a trend that we continue to see growing, you know. I think there's a lot of innovation in this space.”
Ray agrees. He partners with some delivery apps and also has a platform of his own. But, he’s not stopping there: “We're looking at drone deliveries, predictive ordering, voice-activated ordering. So, we're really bringing existing technologies that are there and just really molding them to fit into our industry.”
Ray tells us that because there is no wait staff or actual restaurant facility, he is able to keep the price of the restaurant-quality food down to just around takeout prices.
Examples of other delivery services in addition to Alacarte Delivery: