Delivery continues to shape the way today’s foodservice operators do business. So much so, in fact, that many operators continue to explore running delivery only restaurants. Take, for example, Cousins Subs, which opened its first delivery-only restaurant in Milwaukee in June.

“We’re focused on giving guests access to our local eats with the touch of a button, and this restaurant allows us to do just that. Launching a delivery-only restaurant concept presents an opportunity to better serve new and existing customers in the downtown Milwaukee market, including the city’s growing residential community,” said Joe Ferguson, vice president of development for Cousins Subs. “The restaurant concept enables us to expand our operating hours and spend additional resources on labor and delivery drivers to increase our speed of service and efficiently distribute large catering orders throughout Milwaukee’s downtown area. Our ability to allocate more space and equipment for the kitchen area enables us to focus on the fulfillment of large catering orders delivered directly to our guests’ homes or offices.”

The 5,300-square-foot restaurant resides in a warehouse space that is larger than the chain’s traditional stores while serving Cousins Subs’ full menu of deli fresh and made-to-order grilled subs, macaroni and cheese, french fries, Wisconsin cheese curds and vanilla and chocolate shakes. “Operating the delivery-only restaurant out of a warehouse affords us the space to park delivery vehicles overnight and build out a kitchen that contains double the amount of sandwich-making space, double the amount of fryers and ample space to stage and pack large residential and business orders and catering orders. What’s more, the warehouse space provides additional space to store dry goods,” Ferguson said.

Because it does not include a guest-facing component, selecting the proper site for a delivery-only restaurant can differ from more traditional locations. “When searching for the right spot, we focused our efforts on geographical location. We set out to open the delivery-only restaurant concept in a spot that is close to busy streets and highway ramps and is centrally located,” Ferguson said. “We were not concerned about the visibility of the location because we are operating a delivery-only restaurant. Additionally, parking was not a concern because our delivery vehicles are parked in the warehouse. Finally, retail in the area was not a primary consideration given that we are not focused on driving traffic to the location.”

Maintaining food quality represents a key factor when it comes to ensuring customer satisfaction with any delivery order. And Cousins Subs’ sought to address this critical issue through its delivery-only restaurant. “Housing our kitchen and delivery services under the same roof affords us the opportunity to deliver orders as soon as they are prepared,” Ferguson said. “It also enables us to sit on orders when they are placed for delivery later in the day, so crew members make and deliver the food when customers want it. All orders are delivered by Cousins Subs crew members.”

The opening of the delivery-only restaurant concept is in conjunction with Cousins Subs introduction of third-party delivery through cousinssubs.com and the Cousins Subs mobile app at 71 locations throughout Wisconsin and Illinois. Additional Cousins Subs’ locations were expected to add third-party delivery by the end of June. Roughly 85 percent of Cousins Subs locations now offer delivery, per company data. Cousins Subs operates 92 locations, all but one of which are in Wisconsin.