Delivery apps make lives easier for consumers—but how do restaurants respond to the demand?

We talked to two of Waitr’s high-volume businesses to find out how the delivery scene impacts their daily operations.

On Waitr since: 2016

If there’s any food business that has a hand-in-hand relationship with delivery, it’s pizza. For years, customers have had their pies delivered to their doorsteps. This wasn’t always the case for Baton Rouge parlor Red Zeppelin Pizza. Before joining the Waitr app, hungry customers had to come to the shop in person to satisfy their pizza cravings. After nearly three years on the delivery app, owner Ray Van Merrienboer says business is booming.

What made you want to put your restaurant on Waitr?

One, it takes the pressure off of me to get the pizza to you. Also, it’s the best delivery system I’ve seen so far.

How can people place orders with Red Zeppelin?

Phone call, dine-in, drive thru and Waitr.

On average, what’s the turnaround time on a to-go order?

Around 15 to 20 minutes, plus delivery time. We make the order as soon as it comes through, so when the driver comes to pick it up, it’s as fresh as it gets.

How has business changed since getting on the Waitr app?

It can be overwhelming. You really have to have a kitchen that can handle all the action at once. Sometimes, I’ll cut the app off, just because during the rush of the weekends it can bombard you. Out of my to-go orders, 75% are phone orders and 25% is Waitr. You’ve got older generations that don’t really use apps. It’s going to take a little longer for everyone to adapt.

What do you like most about Waitr?

It brings in more business without stressing out the restaurant up front. It allows for more income that normally would not have been there. It’s really created a segment of employment [for Waitr drivers] that is ideal for people who just want to work when they want to work.

How would you describe the local food scene?

I think you’ve got an explosion of restaurants, and that creates a smaller slice of pie for everyone. I think it’s great, because it creates a culture of different palates. However, every year that goes by, it’s more expensive to open a restaurant.

Where do you see the Baton Rouge food scene in the next few years?

I’m cautiously optimistic. I think Waitr is really going to provide a lifeline for restaurants to stay open. If you’re struggling and you’re willing to adjust your spending for Waitr, it can bring in business and give restaurants an opportunity to stay open longer. redzeppelinpizza.com

On Waitr since: 2016

Ichiban co-owner Randy Wong. Photo by Collin Richie.

It doesn’t get much better than having a plate of sushi rolls delivered to your doorstep. That’s probably why Ichiban’s Waitr iPad dings throughout the day, notifying the restaurant of new orders. Whether Ichiban is using the app for delivery orders or as an online menu platform, the 16-year-old Japanese restaurant’s to-go business continues to grow with the help of the app. Co-owner Randy Wong shares his experience.

What made you want to be on Waitr?

Everyone was jumping on the Waitr train, so we thought there must be something going on. We’ve always wanted to do some type of delivery, and this seemed like a great chance.

What do you like most about Waitr?

It’s convenient. Waitr has come and taken pictures of each of our dishes. Now I refer everyone to the Waitr app to check out our dishes on our menu. It’s our No. 1 resource to send our customers for information on menu items.

How can people place orders with Ichiban?

Dine-in, phone call and Waitr.

On average, what’s the turnaround time on a to-go order?

About 15 to 20 minutes to make and package. No more than 20 minutes for delivery.

How do you ensure freshness for delivery orders?

We do our best as far as keeping hot items in one bag and cold items in another. We try to time it to where the food is done as soon as the driver comes to pick it up or a few minutes after. That way, the food will be at its best temperature when it’s time to deliver.

How has business changed since getting on the Waitr app?

We were always busy with to-go orders. But Waitr has given our customers an alternative to having to call to order their food. Our in-house restaurant businesses slowed down, but our to-go orders boosted like crazy.

How would you describe the food scene in Baton Rouge?

It’s slowly but surely turning more like New Orleans. We’re getting more family-owned restaurants instead of franchises.

Where do you see the Baton Rouge food scene in the next couple of years?

More and more things are getting automated. We’re making it very easy for our customer to get our products. Pretty soon no one’s going to have to leave the house.

What do you see for the future of Ichiban?

I see more of an automated future. I’m hoping in the future we can use delivery services as an asset and not as a crutch in our social lives [where we lose] face-to-face interaction.

This article was originally published in the December 2018 issue of 225 Magazine.

Click here to see more stories from our Order In cover story on the Baton Rouge takeout and delivery scene.