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 client to lose the singleness of strategic intent.

But most importantly, what our work has shown is the strategic use of the supply chain. Its use not only brought out the strategic process and its positioning findings, but it did so in a more logical, systematic, and graphic way that was, even to the clients, more convincing and acceptable.


About the author: Panikos Sardos is the Managing Director of P&E Sardos Business Solutions Int., a management consulting firm that offers advisory services, coaching and training. You are welcome to communicate with us by email: or telephone: +357 99640912, or visit our site at