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Digital Restaurants and the Future of Food | Authors Meredith Sandland and Carl Orsbourn | DH119

Delivering the Digital Restaurant authors on Digital Hospitality podcast

Delivering the Digital Restaurant teaches how to build a successful digital restaurant business that will survive and thrive into the future.

Authors Meredith Sandland (@meresandland) and Carl Orsbourn (@carlorsbourn) were guests on the Digital Hospitality podcast to discuss what they learned while writing their must-read restaurant business book, Delivering the Digital Restaurant Your Roadmap to the Future of Food.

Delivering the Digital Restaurant Book Cover



Three Takeaways From This Podcast Episode:


1. Monthly Services Make Daily Differences –

There was a time when only corporate companies could afford access to digital innovations that optimized orders or operations. That time has passed. Regardless of your size or scale, consider implementing software or systems that might come with a monthly fee but will change your business for the better day after day.


2. Your Competition is Your Community –

We are all in this together. By having conversations with the restaurants in your community and discussing trends in your industry, you can create a better food landscape for your city or neighborhood as a whole.


3. There’s No Such Thing as Throwaway Content –

With all the research that went into writing a book, Carl and Meredith still had 90 percent of their conversations scrapped from the final copy that hit Amazon. So, did they just discard it? Of course not! They will continue to share untold stories through their social platforms as should you.


Delivering Digital Restaurant Social Media PostWhen Carl Orsbourn and Meredith Sandland began writing their book, Delivering the Digital Restaurant: Your Road Map to the Future of Food, they didn’t know how they’d finish it, but they knew why they had to.

“Our ‘why’ is really about helping restaurants navigate this digital change,” beams Meredith Sandland on the Digital Hospitality podcast.

Delivering The Digital Restaurant First Printing party photo on Twitter

“We are incredibly passionate about the magnitude of this change and want to see everyone successfully get through it and thrive because they have figured out how to master it.”

As alluded, that change is seeing restaurants of every size, shape and scale embrace evolving technology to better serve their customer base and grow their business.

For years, both Meredith Sandland and Carl Orsbourn have worked in different ends of the food industry, expanding brands such as Taco Bell and British Petroleum to a new world with new customers.

“I was seeing the enormous level of change of better quality food in the gas station environment,” reflects Carl Orsbourn.

Carl Orsbourn talking with Meredith Sandland on the Digital Hospitality podcast about Delivering the Digital Restaurant

“There’s so much change happening, so many exciting things that really are only at the front of where I think this industry is going.”

Meeting at ghost kitchen company Kitchen United, the co-workers turned co-authors were already on the cutting edge of where the food industry was headed in the 2020s. After years of working for big brands and joining forces at a start-up, both could see that change was imminent.

However, no one knew just how much 2020 would expedite this dramatic digital shift.

“Everything that’s happening is really an existential crisis for the restaurant industry,” Meredith Sandland shares. “We started the book back before the pandemic when we thought this would all take three to five years to play out. Of course, the pandemic accelerated all of that and laid bare the digital divide.”


Digital Restaurants:

Because of the rapid change the restaurant industry faced due to the Coronavirus pandemic, restaurants either adapted or closed during the tough and evolving times.

Even for those businesses that are still standing, it’s essential that they learn through their competition and peers to best adjust their strategy and tools for the good of the communities they serve.

“It is critical to figure this out together,” notes Meredith. “When I think in particular of our local independent restaurants, the ones that are the fabric of our community that make our neighborhoods great, it’s thinking about how to bring them along and make sure that they take advantage of all these digital tools. I think it is incredibly important.”

Being the change they wished to see, Meredith and Carl completed Delivering the Digital Restaurant remotely from home over the duration of the pandemic.

To make it happen, the two colleagues reached out to a long list of industry experts and employees to get a fair assessment of how the restaurant landscape was changing through technology from online ordering to third-party delivery apps. Carl even became a driver to see just what it was like for those that transport food from restaurant to consumer.

“The angle that we try to have throughout the entire book is a very clear perspective on being unbiased,” Carl points out. “We weren’t advocating one particular school of thought. We interviewed a driver that finds the current environment of driving incredibly difficult and then we spoke to a driver that is one of DoorDash’s top drivers and loves it.”

This holistic approach to research and conversation created a balanced book that’s currently on sale at Amazon right now.

Seeing the changes happen in real time after working for a top-level fast food chain, Meredith can’t help but be optimistic about just how accessible technology has become for restaurants of all sizes.

“So many things that used to be only available to Starbucks, McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A and Taco Bell are now available to everyone for a small monthly fee,” smiles Meredith. “That is incredible. Anyone who wants to can find the right tool to do the job they’re trying to do and pay a small monthly fee and do it.”


Writing Delivering The Digital Restaurant Book:

As the world continues to reopen and restaurants continue to adjust to new innovations and shifts in culture, Meredith and Carl are confident their book will help owners and operators navigate the digital landscape.

In addition to their book, the co-authors will continue to share stories from their research that didn’t make the book.

“We have left 90 percent of our interview content on the cutting room floor,” shares Carl. “There’s amazing amounts of content that we’ll be revealing over time.”

For Meredith Sandland and Carl Orsbourn, writing their restaurant business book was just the first step in spearheading a movement that will make the always on its toes restaurant industry even sharper, smarter and more creative.

“There was a story that needed to be told so that restaurants could embrace the change that was happening,” says Meredith.

“Restaurants are so innovative and I think if you give them all the tools and tell them all the things that are going on, you’re going to get these amazing experiments out there where people try new things and create new things and they’ll make it through just fine.”

— Feature article by Cali BBQ Media Writer Ian Stonebrook. Follow @ianstonebrook on Social Media.

Delivering the Digital Restaurant authors on Digital Hospitality podcast


➤ Meredith Sandland on LinkedIn:

➤ Carl Orsbourn on LinkedIn:

Delivering the Digital Restaurant: Your Roadmap to the Future of Food | By Carl Orsbourn and Meredith Sandland


Delivering the Digital Restaurant explores the massive disruption facing American restaurants through first-hand accounts of food industry veterans and start-up entrepreneurs innovating the future of food. Combining sociological observations, rich industry data, and insider knowledge, Delivering paints a picture of how food is evolving and how you as a leader, owner, or operator can successfully innovate and meet the new consumer demands to capitalize on the opportunities ahead.

Those who understand this digital disruption will be better positioned to embrace the innovation that consumers are demanding. Those who resist will surely be left behind.

“Any aspiring or current leader in the food industry will love Delivering the Digital Restaurant. It will help you build your unique vision for how a restaurant wins in the years ahead.”
– Kat Cole (, Former President of Focus Brands

➤ Learn more at:



➤ Free Digital Media Coaching Sign-Up —

➤ Delivering The Digital Restaurant Review —

➤ Cali BBQ YouTube —

➤ Digital Hospitality podcast archive —




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