Millenials aren’t killing chain restaurants. Meal-delivery services are.

Yeah, we hear all the time all the things millennials are killing. Napkins, beer, breastaurants, cereal, golf, etc. But they’re not really killing them. Those industries are killing themselves. Sure, they have some help with people’s changing tastes in leisure-time activities, changing tastes, people working two jobs to make ends meet, and more. And yes, chain restaurants are going the way of the dinosaur for many reasons, but it’s not the millennial. It’s changing tastes, people wanting better nutrition when they dine out and it’s meal-delivery services. It’s Grubhub. It’s DoorDash. It’s Uber Eats. Yeah, I’ll go there.

I’m not saying they’re bad. For some small mom-and-pop places, meal-delivery services are a godsend. Mom & Pop don’t have to pay drivers and hourly rate when business is slow, aren’t required to get the additional insurance policies for deliveries and don’t have to worry about their employees getting robbed (It’s Youngstown. It happens) or injured in an accident on Drive-Like-Shit Tuesday. I’ve had several bar/tavern/restaurant owners I know tell me these exact things. And I get it … I used to work from home, I would have loved to have something other than pizza available for delivery. But I don’t want chain restaurant food delivered to my door. Period.

But hey, that’s me. Maybe you really need to have a Denny’s breakfast delivered? Or that crap that Applebee’s claims is food brought straight to your door? Why? Applebee’s and Denny’s are places you settle for at when the place you want to go is packed. Not your first choice. Not at least for me, any day. Like Sunday.

On Sunday, Wifey and I planned to go to breakfast and Bob Evans on Belmont was packed. So we settled for Denny’s. Place was half-empty. The hostess sat us right away and got us coffee. About 15 minutes later our ‘server’ came over and said, “I just found out you’re in my section. Are you ready to order?” We ordered. In the 45 minutes that followed, they sat four other tables in her section, she took their orders and never once looked our way. Had she looked, she’d have seen that our coffee cups were at the edge of the table, the standard “refills needed” position. Eventually, I walked up to the customer counter and asked the server behind it for refills. “Our server has forgotten we exist.”

One of the tables that was seated after we arrived got their food before we did. Wifey wanted to leave. We watched at least three cars pull in and, come in and leave after hearing it’s taking a long time to get food. And GrubHub was in and out of there three or four times while we’re waiting.

Finally, as we were getting ready to leave, our food comes out.  My oatmeal is crusty on top and cold. Eggs? Room temperature at best. Wifey’s toast buttery-like spread had already re-congealed from liquid to solid. As our ‘server’ was taking an order from another table (poor bastards) I walked over to her, looked at her and said, “We waited over an hour. We got our own coffee refills. And now our food is COLD? This place is half empty. We’re leaving.” (Side Note: This also happened to us one other time at this Denny’s, too. We left before our food came that time, so this isn’t new.)

We walk up to the cashier, Wifey says she’ll pay. I’m like “We’re not paying.” Cashier is explaining to a young mom with a cute little one that it’s about 45 minutes for food. Lady says, “This place is half empty.” Cashier says, “We’re having long ticket times because we have a lot of to-go orders.” I chimed in “You don’t want to eat here today,” explaining our situation. Cashier apologized and told us she’d void the check. Mom and baby left. So did the couple behind her.

So Denny’s lost the $25 we would have paid, plus the ‘server’ still would have gotten 10% for awful service. Plus the two two-tops that were at the cashier station when we left also left. And the three cars we saw pull in, two or three people get out of and get back into after hearing it’s 45 minutes for Denny’s, and that’s not because the place is full, but because that kitchen was bumping, apparently, with GrubHub orders. Which is good for the food prices, but not for a full-service restaurant. And it’s sure not good to your staff. I’m sure the GrubHub buyers are tipping their GrubHub drivers, but as we talked above, those drivers aren’t your employees. And GrubHub buyers are not tipping your employees. Again, not sustainable.

Take care of the people who are in your store, tipping your staff, posting selfies, promoting your business. Because they’ll be back. Unfortunately, for Denny’s on Belmont, we won’t be back. I’d rather wait at Bob Evans.

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