Delivery boom is forcing Denver restaurants to adapt how they do business

DENVER -- The rise in popularity of UberEats, Postmates, and several other delivery services are making some Denver restaurants tweak their business models to feed the crowds who want their food at home. 

“In just the one year we’ve no doubt doubled, if not tripled, the amount of takeout we’ve done,” Matthew Gnojek of Olive & Finch in Denver said. 

At their Cherry Creek location, Gnojek estimates they fill more than 300 to-go orders per week, many to app based delivery services.

“They’re out there. They’re waiting for the food to come to them this time and were happy to provide it,” he said.

But that does come with some challenges. Some food doesn't travel well. It’s difficult keeping some things hot. So Olive & Finch, along with many others, have had to adapt. 

“Maybe were going to design some other options. Instead of doing that breakfast hash in a bowl where it can slosh around, instead why don’t we offer it to you as a burrito,” Gnojek said.

Some upscale restaurants in Denver have also now come into the fold, even if it was reluctantly. 

“This is important. This is not going away. This is real so you either embrace it or you whither behind and die,” restaurateur Frank Bonnano said. 

Bonanno owns ten Denver eateries, three of which now take online orders. But those come with limitations. 

“What we think travels well. So not the full menu items. We select what would be good to-go food,” he told Denver7. 

The Colorado Restaurant Association estimates that more than 60 percent of restaurant visits are for takeout, with a growing percentage of that coming from apps. But if people are staying home and ordering instead of the traditional sit down visit, does that hurt the restaurant? They say no. 

“Our restaurant can continue to remain busy, continue to have good hours for employees, an outlet to still reach a customer base even if it’s pouring snow outside,” Gnojek said. 

“It is a plus for the restaurant industry I think because you’re able to generate additional revenue from people that might not have come in,” Bonnano added.

It’s even getting to the point that Bonnano has designed his latest food venture at the Denver Dairy Block around online takeout.

“We are putting in a whole POS (point of sale) system so you can order form one of 16 venues and we’ll gather it up and have it ready at a concierge desk for you,” he said.

Simply put, Bonnano says it’s the future. 

As for negatives, delivery does come with a middle man, so restaurants do lose some control of their product once it leaves their doors.

Most restaurants that spoke to Denver7 say they don’t believe they’re losing customers to online ordering, in fact, some said they were gaining them. 

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