Food delivery is not a new concept. The hospitality industry has included it as a service since the very beginning however it was always limited in what was on offer, capped to pizza concepts or the local Indian take away joint. Today, thanks to the enhancement of technology, the use of smart phones and a collective group of masterminds you can now order almost anything and have it paid for, tracked and delivered right to your door.
For consumers, this service is more than anyone could ask for. Apps such as Foodora or Deliveroo allow you type in whatever it is you’re craving and it will bring up every option available to you in the area plus tell you how long it will take to get to you. And there is fat chance there won’t be something on there that you feel like. In Melbourne, the majority of the City’s smart casual hot spots are listed allowing you to skip the queue and enjoy high-quality food in the comfort of your own home. Fresh-pressed tortilla chips with chef-made guacamole, fancy burgers with all the extras, famous fried chicken, raw pad Thai noodles – you name it, you can get it.
For operators, third-party delivery services such as the ones mentioned as well as others like Uber Eats and Menu Log are providing the gateway for restaurants to offer convenient meal solutions without all the excess baggage once associated with offering delivery. Operators can release all responsibility when it comes to drivers, vehicles and insurance as the third-party providers take care of all of it. What the operators do need to be prepared for is a rise in food production and preparation and to make sure that the kitchen and service team is equipped to manage an extra layer of patronage, albeit off-site.
A 2013 report that came out of the US showed that delivery traffic outside of pizza had increased by 33% over a one year period (1) with the sector forecasted to experience significant growth beyond that of regular restaurant traffic growth. With stats like this, it’s no surprise that major investments are being made into these companies with Deliveroo receiving $240 million worth of funding from the organisations which invested in Facebook and Air BnB. With this type of financial backing, it is a pretty safe bet that the projections for this area of hospitality will follow their forecasted expansion path.
So, as an operator, should you get on board the delivery service train? With that much growth, it would seem that it would be a financial opportunity missed if you didn’t. Obviously there are issues associated with offering delivery such as flexibility, the quality of food and removing physical patrons from your restaurant but for some providers, they have worked solutions for these issues into their service plan. Deliveroo’s business plan includes rigorous testing and conversations with restaurant kitchens and service teams of each outlet that is registered to ensure that it is going to be viable and manageable and therefore mutually beneficial for both stakeholders. The service providers have also witnessed that by registering businesses with their companies, patronage has increased as customers discover restaurants via the platform and then go there to eat.
Third-party delivery services are another step in the direction of consumer’s having more access to better food and beverage options. It is also bridging the gap between healthier, high-quality food options and the convenience which was once limited to fast-foods. The traditional fast foods are no longer satisfying the evolving and discerning customer’s taste and preference and companies like these delivery services have taken advantage of this. As with all these things, teething issues exist and it takes a push to get it functioning smoothly but it would seem that this area of hospitality is set for big things in the near future and will be a key area to watch.