We have been doing some work for a restaurant chain that, under the severe COVID restrictions, has been forced to consider alternatives among them the possibility of adding delivery services.

The question we have been called to answer was “Can it be done” in other words can the restaurant operate as a classic dine-in restaurant and at the same time accept delivery orders?

That, in our managerial terminology, meant that we had to identify the strategic positions that the two uses represent so as to assess the degree of their overlap or distinctiveness.

So, we first proceeded to derive the positionings by the traditional methodology of ranking by traits. The results, depicted in the diagram below, show that delivery and dine-in operations define two quite different spaces. Therefore, for a single food premises to try to be both would be straddling which is, as it is well known, unsustainable.

Then, in another way to verify results, we turned to the use of the supply network and supply chains. A supply network was roughly sketched for what could be an all-types food business. Next, we identified the several supply chains, separated them, and marked them accordingly. See the diagram below.

This second methodology brought to light the differences in the nature and number of stages in the supply chains between dine-in restaurants and delivery services. Critical activities in the two operations are different. To try to do them in the same premises with the same staff, with the same way of managing would give rise to inconsistencies and redundancies.

The distinct supply chains shown in the diagram demonstrate different possibilities for specialization, in other words different strategic positions. Doing both types of food business under the same roof will cause the [...]