Restaurants try to balance online vs in-person ordering as they adapt to change

Published: November 16, 2021 7:43 AM EST

The pandemic changed the ways we eat as much as any part of our lives, and while delivery services like DoorDash or Uber Eats have helped customers, they are also putting a strain on in-person services.

Money is flowing freely when it comes to mobile orders, but not so much business as a whole? With all the options we have now for getting food, some restaurants say all the online business is taking away from the service they can offer in-person. People are waiting in longer lines, and not because of all the customers inside the restaurant—all the orders coming in through mobile apps can leave a kitchen staff overwhelmed, having to serve dishes up for more people than they’re used to.

Some businesses have had to close tables in their dining rooms to try and meet the demands of their customers, causing servers to lose out on money. Michelle Roman, the manager of House of Omelets at 900 SW Pine Island Road in Cape Coral. She says the volume of online orders has sometimes become too difficult for her kitchen to handle.

“It does make it very difficult, especially on my kitchen staff, you know?” Roman said. “Sometimes, we just look at them and we know it’s beyond our control sometimes, and people, I’m sure… you know people understand. But, at the same aspect, when people are waiting here for so long, they do tend to get frustrated and we apologize. We want them to leave happy, but sometimes it’s just really hard.”

Roman says she doesn’t believe things will get easier for her staff or anyone else’s anytime soon; with season just about to begin, she expects the high volume of customers to grow even more.

Cape Coral resident Renee Cubbage says she often places mobile orders without any issues, but she has recently started to see the challenges her favorite businesses are facing.

“It seems like there might be two workers in the deli and one of them is doing completely online and the other one is doing in-person, so it definitely slows it down,” Cubbage said. “But also my food is cold, because it’s just taking longer. There are more people ordering. They have limited workers and you’re just going to be last on the list.”

Renee says she, too, expects this level of business will probably stick around for some time, so she encourages everyone to practice patience before getting upset with food service workers.