The delivery business is expanding beyond these apps. Many restaurants that can’t serve diners in-house are pivoting to delivery-centric business models, expanding their takeout offerings and introducing limited or bespoke to-go menus.
Other restaurants are taking a more creative approach, exploring new retail models and revenue streams. Chicago brewpub Bungalow by Middle Brow announced on March 15, 2020 that it plans to introduce make-it-yourself pizza kits and a subscription service for beer, bread and pizza. Elsewhere in Chicago, All Together Now is adding a wine and cheese hotline, where callers can get personalized recommendations and place orders for delivery, and restaurants including Pacific Standard Time and Flat & Point are offering $40-$50 fully cooked pick-up meals.
In New York, Little Collins launched “Little Collins Pantry” on March 17, 2020 with products for elevated at-home dining like homemade pasta sauces, soups, grilled chicken and marinated portobello mushroom steak. In Los Angeles, Guerrilla Tacos created an “emergency taco kit” on March 16 that includes all the components for a four-person taco dinner—plus four rolls of toilet paper. Esteemed cocktail bar Employees Only started selling a do-it-yourself cocktail kit delivered from their West Hollywood location on March 13. Canlis, one of Seattle’s top fine dining institutions, has adapted by closing its dining room on March 16 and instead running three replacement businesses: a bagel shop, a drive-through burger window and a family meal delivery service.
Food has long been a source of comfort and community. But, in the shifting reality dictated by the preventative and mitigation measures around COVID-19, the restaurants and bars integral to local communities are being forced to pivot. As social gatherings are increasingly restricted, businesses that rely on visitors—such as restaurants and bars—are adapting, exploring alternative avenues for income and diversifying their services.
“[There are] two things that haven’t changed: People need to eat and people need to work,” Mark Canlis, co-owner at Canlis, told Fast Company. “There are a lot of great people out there who can come up with great solutions. We just have to have permission to think creatively [and] optimistically, permission to say, ‘I think we can do it.'”
For more on COVID-19 read “Pandemic paralysis,” “Philanthropic brands,” “Virtual gatherings,” “Pandemic brands” and keep an eye out for additional coverage as events unfold.
Main image courtesy of Deliveroo.