Evolving from Farm-to-Table to Farm-to-Desk

Evolving from Farm-to-Table to Farm-to-Desk

As digital deliveries now account for a sizable portion of their business, several restaurants are trying to bypass third-party ordering platforms such as Grubhub and Uber Eats with their own ordering and delivery systems.

To lure customers away from third-party marketplaces, they offer a variety of incentives that are only available through their own Web sites or mobile apps. They also adapt their cooking methods to account for delivery time.


Video Spotlights:


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Dig Inn Wants to Optimize Your Sad Desk Lunch, by E.G. Dunn, January 29, 2019; the YouTube video, Dig Inn – Boston, by phantomgourmet, August 17, 2017; and the Fortune article and video, Restaurants face digital dilemma, by J. Kell,  June 9, 2017. Image source: Shutterstock/MSSA.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the quality problems associated with meal deliveries?

Guidance: As Scott Landers mentioned in the article, the delivery portion of the business has grown faster than capacity, resulting in longer lead times, errors, foods at the wrong temperature, and food quality degradation during delivery.

2. What are some of the product and process design changes aimed at overcoming the lower quality of foods that are delivered?

Guidance: In addition to better forecasting techniques to improve predictability and reduce preparation delays, a lot of changes are being made to overcome lower quality:

  • Reduce the menu options
  • Design delivery-friendly dinnerware
  • Reconfigure food preparation processes and layouts
  • Package cold and hot foods separately
  • Allow for cooking during delivery
  • Limit travel times
  • Speed up order pick-ups for delivery

3. What are the kitchen layouts for digital orders and why?

Guidance: The kitchens now include one or more dedicated production lines. This layout is appropriate for high volume, low variety products. The ever-increasing demand for deliveries justifies the high volume, and the reduction in menu options is consistent with lower variety.

4. What kinds of supply chain disruptions has the fast-casual restaurant industry experimented?

Guidance: The fast-casual restaurant industry has added links to its supply chain. First, the dishes went directly from the kitchen to the restaurant tables or customers picking up their orders. Then, digital marketplaces assumed some of the ordering functions and delivered the meals. Now, restaurants also assume some of the digital ordering and delivery functions. As the complexity of the delivery system increases, the menu or product mix is simplified.

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