Back in the day—that is, pre-COVID—delivery was a specialized niche service in onsite dining programs, confined mainly to a few college and corporate campuses. But since the pandemic hit, more operators have begun to explore—and deploy—meal delivery as both a safe, socially distanced way to get food to customers, and as one that can increase business at a time when in-person patrons are scarce and skittish.
Delivery is growing in a variety of ways, from robots trundling their way across campuses—and sometimes off campuses to neighboring communities—to repurposed dining staff taking food to employees in businesses and institutions, to residents in senior living communities and to students and their families in school districts.
Meal delivery of course requires a separate set of protocols from food intended to be served onsite, or even as pre-packaged grab and go. Packaging, storage, meal composition and production schedules all are affected, and operators who have developed meal delivery programs recently have been refining these various techniques and strategies. Food Management has been covering this trend, and here is a roundup of some of the stories we’ve done on meal delivery since the advent of the COVID pandemic.