Take it away


The need for speed is a constant theme in our frenetic daily lives. As time-starved consumers scurry about multi-tasking and …

The need for speed is a constant theme in our frenetic daily lives. As time-starved consumers scurry about multi-tasking and fulfilling a multitude of obligations throughout their day, they are left zapped of energy by the time evening rolls around and it’s time for dinner.

That bodes well for restaurant operators, who are eager and ready to serve up dinner for the growing legion of consumers who simply have no time, and even less inclination to cook. In fact, statistics show that today’s new generation of diners possess little ‒sœ if any ‒sœ cooking skills.

So if that’s the case, why are restaurant operators not aggressively jumping on the HMR bandwagon? Certainly, consumers have a multitude of choice when it comes to eating out. Depending on what they feel like eating and how much they want to spend, they can patronize quick-service restaurants, casual eateries or fine-dining destinations. Or if they want to eat in, they can always pick up the phone and call in their order for pizza, Chinese food, or perhaps rotisserie chicken.

But what happens to those consumers who are not only physically tired at the end of the day, but also tired of the same-old-same-old and perhaps don’t want to devote an hour or two to spend time in a restaurant? Or what about those consumers who are not interested in having to go to the local pizza or burger joint, get out of the car and then have to spend time waiting for the order to be ready? Even those who don’t mind phoning in an order sometimes get exasperated by having to wait a half hour to get their order delivered. What’s even worse is placing an order and then having food arrive cold and tasteless.

Many grocery chains have the right idea and are competing effectively with restaurants by promoting a wealth of home meal solutions that are priced reasonably. Some are even trying to make the process more convenient by allowing customers to pay for the food where they purchase it, instead of having to trudge through the store and wait in long lineups.

But I’m not sure that either of them have really found the answer in offering true convenience. That’s a reality I’ve often wondered about but came into sharp focus a few weeks ago while driving home after working late. As I got off the highway, my mind was going a mile a minute debating what I should prepare for dinner. Hungry, yet tired, I was tempted to stop by one of the local restaurants and pick something up but I didn’t feeling like waiting for the order and then having to drive a few minutes more to arrive home. I also considered our local grocery store but again, the cold and inclement weather served as a deterrent.

It was then that I wondered why hasn’t a smart entrepreneurial restaurateur come up with a novel concept that would make HMR more attractive and enticing? What’s to stop someone from introducing a drive-through concept that would allow patrons to do what we do best — place their order quickly and conveniently, swipe their debit card to pay for it and then simply drive away. Sure, there’s mounting debate surrounding drive through these days. But restaurateurs can tweak the concept to fit today’s reality and ensure eco friendliness. What’s to stop operators from calling in their order (similar to a pizza delivery) or better yet e-mailing their request, paying for it online and then simply arriving at the designated time to have the food delivered directly to their car. No fuss; no muss and lots of profit potential.


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