The world of dining delivery has changed a lot recently.
“A few years ago, pizza and bad Chinese was about the extent of your delivery options,” says Chef Paul Mattison of Mattison’s restaurants. “Over the past couple of years, as these companies have gotten serious about doing it, you can order from hundreds of restaurants just from the Sarasota-Manatee area.”
That includes Mattison’s, known for its higher-end fare. “I kind of resisted it for a long time,” Mattison says. “I didn't want to pay the fees the delivery companies take to do delivery.”
But the more he looked at delivery, the more he liked it. “If someone has made the decision to eat at home, they’ve already made the choice, so at that point, I want to be one of their options,” he says.
Mattison’s uses three services — Uber Eats, DoorDash and Bite Squad — instead of picking one over the others. “I think people like certain apps and how they work,” Mattison says. Plus, it’s just as much work no matter how many services the company uses. The delivery companies charge the restaurant a 25-30% fee.
Offering delivery, Mattison says, is a pragmatic choice. “It’s really incidental income,” he says because delivery orders don’t take up a table or require more staffing, and the kitchen is already operating. “Really the only expense is the cost of the food and the cost of the packaging. It’s income that wouldn’t happen if you didn’t do it.”
Mattison’s made some modifications to the list of items it allows to be delivered. “Certain items just don’t travel well,” he says. “We're cautious about what we do put out there.” Mattison is cognizant of the fact that each order could be someone’s first impression of the brand.
Although some restaurants have had problems with delivery, such as widespread customer complaints, that hasn’t been the case with Mattison’s. “I've only had one complaint,” Mattison says. “It was our mistake.” Someone in the kitchen read the ticket wrong and left out an item. To rectify it, Mattison’s rushed two fresh items to the person’s house. Now there’s a new policy in place — before every delivery goes out, a manager does a double check of everything in the bag.
So far, delivery is going well for Mattison’s, he says, and provides a fair amount of business. “You have to change with the times,” Mattison says. “I'm glad we're doing it.”
Click below to see how other area restaurants vary their strategies on how to handle the surge of meal delivery.