The rise of e-commerce has created a raft of cultural shifts that are ongoing and profound—and Greenwich (as well as other luxury markets) real estate could certainly feel the impact. This from something that touches us all: restaurants. According to the Wall Street Journal, “as e-commerce expands into food delivery, new bets are being made on real estate.”
Traditionally, except in the most heavily-populated urban areas (think Manhattan, San Francisco, Miami), regular restauranteurs have put little to no emphasis on food delivery. In most places, offering a delivery option was at best a financially break-even proposition so few restaurants focused on it. In Greenwich, except for the pizza places and Tengda Bistro, there are few restaurants that historically have offered home delivery. But e-commerce has begun to change that.
As mobile apps and one-click delivery options have skyrocketed in popularity, the revenue potential has become ever clearer. And with that, a growing number of restaurants are now seeing a new possibility. Why pay for an expensive street-facing retail space in a top location if most of your revenue is going to come from home delivery? Couldn’t you operate your kitchen from a less expensive warehouse district? In other words, if the demand is great enough, why not go all-delivery? The economies are undeniable—especially since it involves dispensing with the payrolls of greeters, servers, and a good deal of associated support staff.
The phenomenon has yet to displace restaurants in a major way—and it certainly will never replace the value of the dining out experience. But just as e-commerce has turned the taxicab business upside down, it might not be surprising if the e-commercial revolution winds up allowing a significant number of restauranteurs to focus their efforts toward out-serving their loyal followers. The Journal even reports the advent of startup companies opening shared kitchen in industrial buildings devoted to “liberating” restaurants from their storefronts.
How much this trend impacts Greenwich and other luxury towns remains to be seen; but for those of us who have put meal preparation on the back burner, we are looking forward to seeing an expanse in home food delivery world.