We've been seeing a gradual shift in restaurants shrinking their dining rooms while increasing their focus on third party delivery - but is the pandemic hastening the evolution of entire categories of restaurants (namely fast-food, fast-casual and upscale-casual) to virtual ghost kitchens?
I’m leaving for a trip in a couple of days... and I’ll be driving instead of flying.
These trips, that usually take a few hours each way, will now take a couple of days each way...a price I’m willing to pay (during a pandemic) for not sitting in an enclosed tube of re-circulated, albeit filtered air for 7+ hours.
In thinking about air travel - and the toll that reduced flights must be having on both the airlines and airport restaurants; I can’t help but wonder if they may be taking this time to not only refresh aesthetically; but to also reimagine how #hospitality and the #customerexperience may be improved in the months and years ahead as well.
It seems as though tremendous possibilities (from efficiency to quality) exist for strategic alliances with airport food outlets and airlines - especially in the face of increasing competition - not only from third party delivery services but from the nearby street-facing outlets who are developing their own in-house delivery platforms as well.
Consider the technology immersed outlets owned and operated by the #OTG family of airport restaurants.
I wonder if, while developing their #AmazonGo Restaurant model, OTG might also consider building a “gate delivery” option from nearby hanger-based ghost kitchens for passengers who are waiting to board similar to the service @yourgate offers from restaurants miles away or...perhaps even establish a strategic alliance with some airlines to leverage their technical and culinary prowess with LSG Sky Chefs (who have even more at stake) in order to develop a unique “pre-order” option for those passengers who are going to be offered meals based on their ticket class.
Think about it... Dominos delivers pizza to the beach, Eaze delivers weed just about anywhere recreational marijuana has been legalized and @yourgate is now delivering outside food to passengers at almost a dozen airports...all while on-premise restaurants have an under-leveraged advantage of existing proximity.
PROS TO ON SITE AIRPORT RESTAURANTS DEVELOPING "PRE-ORDER" AND "AT-THE-GATE DELIVERY" FROM GHOST KITCHENS
- No additional overhead other than “runners” for gate delivery.
- Potentially a lot less waste and transfer of unused food if airlines begin allowing pre-orders.
- The ability to broaden their already captive market and expand on brand equity.
- Immediate expansion of, what in many terminals is, a significantly limited selection (depending upon restrictive exclusivity clauses in their respective Leases)...especially in those airports not currently served by @yourgate delivery.
- Mitigation of the #1 sales deterrent (for me anyway): FOMF - Fear Of Missing My Flight.
- The technology currently in play would not require a lot of modification in order to enable ordering from your cell phone instead of their tablets... or from home - before you even leave for the airport / after you select your seat.
I may be way off ...but I believe we're going to see some really exciting advancements in the way of more personalized and more convenient options within the #foodandtravel space very soon.
You know what they say about necessity being the mother of invention...