Town to Table

Unique delivery options ease cravings with convenience

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Whether it’s been a long day at work or you just really don’t want to put on pants, getting your food delivered has never been easier. On top of all the traditional delivery restaurants, The Shoals now has two delivery services, locally owned Shoals Takeout and Huntsville based GrubSouth.

But, how do you know which one to choose?

Well, let’s start with the price. Below we layout the big differences in choices, preorder availability, delivery fees, order minimum and delivery time.

Delivery times for each service is going to vary based off of a variety of factors, but most importantly where you are getting it delivered to. Expect about 30 minutes to over an hour for each service depending on how far away from the restaurant you are.

Ordering on each service is relatively easy. You enter your delivery location and the service will show you a list of restaurants you can get delivered to that address as well as delivery estimates, minimum order amounts, and delivery fees for each restaurant showing. Once you choose a restaurant, you can then look through different menu sections such as appetizers, entrees or even the most popular items to decide what you want to order. Both services allow you to customize your order with the same options you would have while ordering in a restaurant such as no pickles, add bacon and so on.

One advantage of GrubSouth’s ordering system is that they include pictures of the items on their website. Both systems are relatively simple and easy to navigate, but they both lack the refined and polished look of large national food delivery services such as UberEats, GrubHub or even Dominos.

What do similarly sized cities have?

While Columbia, Tennessee, has the national delivery service GrubHub (not affiliated with GrubSouth), they only deliver for one restaurant, Bingo Burgers & Subs, with a $50 order minimum.

Cullman, Alabama, only has GrubSouth which delivers for 14 restaurants.

How does this affect restaurants?

Although the concept of food delivery is not new, the entrance of the gig economy, or temporary contract jobs, into food delivery is having profound changes on restaurants. Restaurants are now able to gain many of the benefits of delivering food without having the high cost of employees dedicated solely to delivering food.

In the last five years, revenue from deliveries jumped 20 percent and the overall number of deliveries increased 10 percent, according to The NPD Group. Food delivery is projected to grow 12 percent each year for the next five years, according to Restaurant Business Online. On top of that, only 11 percent of restaurants surveyed by Technomic felt that the rise of delivery effected their dine in sales. Overall, partnering with a food delivery service seems to be a net benefit for the restaurant.

What’s next?

According to investment bank UBS, this could just be the start of changing how more and more of our food is consumed. There are new restaurants emerging that make restaurant food only for delivery, scientist are developing artificial intelligence to allow robots to cook full meals and cars and drones are getting closer to self-driving. Put that all together and before too long a fully cooked and delivered meal might be as cheap as — or cheaper than — buying food from the grocery store and cooking at home.

Mason Royal

From Scottsboro, Alabama

Author since 2018