Is Your Next Supper Takeout? Interview with Cory Mintz

Written by Dee Brun

Pizza and Chinese food were the only two takeout menus in my parents’ “everything” drawer growing up. The excitement was palpable with my brothers and I when it was takeout night. It didn’t happen often so we made it an event. The TV tables came out and we got to eat in the family room watching Hockey Night in Canada or a movie we rented on VHS.

These were the days when there were actual delivery boundaries in a city. If you didn’t live within a certain block radius of your favourite eatery, you couldn’t get it delivered.

Flash forward a few decades and we now have 1000s of food options available at our fingertips for delivery from all over any given city. But the reality is, even with all this choice, we are still creatures of habit and tend to get takeout from 5 or 6 of our regular spots. I learned this fun fact from food reporter and author Corey Mintz who has a great new book out, “The Next Supper.”

I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Corey about his book and the current state of takeout in our ‘new normal.” We spoke at length about the nostalgia of what takeout used to be before the apps and our addiction to convenience.

I asked him if we could ever go back to those simpler days of self-delivery that we now all know actually allows a restaurant to make money on their takeout.

His response was, “I am absolutely advocating for it, unfortunately, technology never goes back.”

He went on to say that now less than 1% of restaurants are doing self-delivery and most of these second-generation restaurants are in smaller towns. That being said, small towns are also the new frontier for delivery apps, according to Corey.

When I asked Corey about what the new face of takeout looks like, he had this to say.

“There are restauranteurs that are coming up now who are digital natives, who are seeing this as, ‘I’m not going to figure out what my menu is and then figure out how to put it in a box. I’m going to conceive food for this purpose.”

“Menus are now being developed with takeout as a forethought rather than an after, to give the consumer the best possible dining experience regardless of where they are dining.”
There is still something quite special about eating in a restaurant. Mintz sums it up perfectly,“A really nice restaurant is basically your ability to buy the experience for a couple of hours of being a rich person.”

He goes on to explain what he means by this and how you can feel like Vin Diesel. Buy the book for the whole excerpt, it’s worth the read. So with this in mind, I asked Corey if takeout will not be a comprise. His thoughts on this are food for thought.

“Convenience is more valuable than quality.” Price, convenience then quality is the order of importance. After all, if we are ordering from an eatery on the other side of town, with the time it takes to get to us, price and convenience are the same but the quality suffers.

I asked Corey what we can do to make our takeout experience more about quality and his answer is so simple.

“Get to know those 5 or 6 local spots around you and order from them. Find out who they are and what their business is about. When you can, call in your order and whenever possible, pick it up. Identify the great local spots around you and tell others about them. After all, you can always order the fancy hand-churned ice cream from across town to your door. But ice cream never tastes the same through a straw.”

“What was my biggest takeaway from our interview? When it comes to our takeout choices, we need to bump quality up to the top of the list. Look around your neighbourhood first for tonight’s dinner. Spend some time learning what the true cost of “convenience” is, not just to your wallet but also to the people and businesses involved. These few simple changes will make your takeout experience so much richer and may make you richer with some savings. I recommend spending your newfound savings on some TV tables. Cheers.