Portillo’s is launching self-delivery

The fast-casual chain is hiring hundreds of drivers and getting ready to roll out its own delivery program but has no plans to ditch its third-party provider partnerships.
Photo courtesy of Portillos

Portillo’s plans to roll out a self-delivery program nationwide within the next month and is hiring delivery drivers, the fast-casual chain announced this week.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain, known for selling Chicago-style comfort foods, said it will continue to work with third-party delivery services DoorDash and UberEats. But the company hopes that self-delivery will be a reason for customers to order directly through Portillo’s channels.

“We feel that the delivery experience is just one more reason to order directly,” Dino Northway, Portillo’s senior manager of off-premise dining, said. “To see that red shirt come and drop off your order will definitely be another reason.”

Portillo’s is hiring several drivers for each of its 62 units. Drivers will earn a base wage, as well as tips. They will be cross-trained inside the restaurant.

The chain has piloted self-delivery in a few locations for several months, Northway said.

Portillo’s has seen tremendous growth in off-premise sales amid the pandemic. The high unemployment rate is making self-delivery possible.

“A year ago, with the labor market, it was impossible to do self-delivery,” Nick Scarpino, Portillo’s senior vice president of marketing and off-premise dining, told Restaurant Business in April. “Now we're saying we can do this, and we can get a decent amount of sales from it.”

Portillo’s delivery drivers will also be trained to set up large catering orders, Northway said.

“Delivery is such a growing part of the restaurant industry,” he said. “Self-delivery allows us to be part of the entire experience from start to finish.”


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