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Behind the story

It’s okay that restaurant delivery progress has been messy this year

But 2020 is the year to iron out operations and implement a strong strategy

Jenna-Telesca.gifNRN editors take you beyond the headlines and offer perspectives on the issues and events shaping the industry. Get more inside takes from Behind the Story >>

This time last year, I made an aspirational restaurant prediction: that 2019 would be the year the restaurant industry would get really good at delivery.

Obviously restaurants haven’t quite figured it all out. That was expected, honestly. Restaurant operations are complicated and it’s a seismic shift just adding a delivery option to some chains. It’s going to take time to get it right.

But I will say it’s been a year of progress on the delivery front. And progress is often messy.

After restaurant companies partnered up with third-party delivery players, there were some disagreements that involved lawsuits, fees, customer data and marketing tactics.

The honeymoon is over between third-party delivery players and restaurants, and that’s okay. It just means the anything-goes delivery culture is moving into something that will get more sophisticated.

Now it’s time to iron out the details on operations, data collection, food safety, transparency, smart packaging, strategy, profitability — and who the delivery customer belongs too.

And restaurants need to move quickly because the restaurants that smooth out trouble spots for off-premise orders will own 2020.

Watch for more 2020 predictions from the NRN staff — including several on where the delivery market is headed — next week on and in the Dec. 9 issue of the magazine.

As for 2019, it’s been an exciting and busy year for the Nation’s Restaurant News team. To name just a few highlights:

  • NRN’s journalism was recognized by the Neal Awards, the top honor for business-to-business reporting. NRN received an award for Best Media Brand/Overall Editorial Excellence and one for Best Single Issue for our Teen Vision series.
  • We launched our weekly podcast, Extra Serving. If you haven’t been listening, you should. You’ll get some behind-the-scenes insight straight from restaurant executives on technology, culinary trends, leadership and emerging brands. Our editors take turns hosting these conversations, so you get a different perspective on each one. Find them wherever you listen to your podcasts.
  • Our annual conference MUFSO moved to Denver — where attendees got to try new experiential events like a CBD tour and a Taste of Denver local restaurant tasting, along with great informative presentations by restaurant executives and experts like digital guru Gary Vaynerchuk and menu insights firm Datassential.
  • The foodservice industry rallied around the all-women Power List, attending Nation’s Restaurant News cocktail parties in celebration of their accomplishments across the country. The 2020 NRN Power List debuts in January. Tell us who you think should be on it.

While I can’t share all the details just yet, 2020 is going to be another big year for Nation’s Restaurant News.

Keep an eye out for new events and innovative digital projects. Happy New Year.


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