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If you're used to ordering your favorite meal from your favorite restaurant and having it delivered to you, you may soon want to go ahead and make that trip to the restaurant to satisfy your appetite.

We've all seen the now hiring signs in Tyler, Longview, Kilgore, Jacksonville and all across East Texas posted outside of Mercado's, On The Border, Olive Garden, McDonald's, Whataburger, Taco Bell and countless other restaurants, the restaurant industry is hurting from not being able to maintain a full staff to serve their customers and many of these businesses are continuously hiring. It's a full-time job just to fill the open host/hostess positions, servers, cooks, kitchen staff and other key positions, restaurants are having a hard time keeping up despite the number of orders that are rolling into the kitchen.

Although there is no slowdown in orders rolling into the kitchen, some restaurants and major chain hot spots are beginning to choke down on the number of orders that are being put into the kitchen during peak times from to-go and online orders. The move is meant to make the in-dining experience more enjoyable for those who choose to dine out at the restaurant and to cut down on their wait times and to alleviate some of the stress placed upon the kitchen staff. Oftentimes, dine-in patrons generate more money for the restaurant and the wait staff than the to-go orders do. Also, the restaurant isn't losing money to the delivery services as well as having to pay for the extra packaging for all the to-go orders they do pump out.

Slowing down online and to-go orders at some of East Texas' major chain restaurants might not be happening here just yet, but it is happening across the nation. The Darden Group, owners of Olive Garden, Cheddar's and Longhorn Steak House, has started slowing down call-in and online orders on weekends. The company has started to limit to-go orders to just four for every 15 minutes at some of their restaurants. The company's chief executive says, "There are a lot more orders than that. We know we have excess demand."

I am probably in the minority here, I can honestly say that I have never used a third-party delivery service to deliver food to me. There's just something about someone else having access to my food before it gets from the restaurant to me, in addition to paying the extra surcharges that come with the service. I just prefer to go into the restaurant when dining out. Some customers who use the third-party delivery services have noticed that their favorite restaurant is blacked out for a time and not accepting orders.

At this point, it is just another sign of the times that we are living through. We'll make adjustments as we go along with the changes.

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