For the few people that don’t know, delivery-dining is a tech x food concept which utilizes online platforms to allow consumers to order food and beverage from their favorite restaurant, and have a courier deliver their order to their home, office, local park, or pretty much any location within a specified radius. Basically it’s traditional takeaway 2.0 with advanced usability and a city’s worth of restaurant and bars to choose from.
The market leaders in the UK are currently Just Eat, Deliveroo, UberEATS and Hungry House who all partner with independent and chain restaurants up and down the country to distribute their food within the local area via bicycle, motorbike, taxi, food runners etc.
Growth in the delivery-dining scene is incredible; the sector itself is worth around £3.5bn and grew 10 times faster than the eating out sector in 2016 – within this period Deliveroo reported an increase in orders of 650% whilst Just Eat experienced a 46% rise in worldwide sales within the first three months of 2017.
I’ve been talking about the power of convenience a lot recently and I think delivery-dining showcases it perfectly. Something that started off as a ‘trend’ or was seen as ‘a bit fancy’, being able to get Gaucho delivered to your apartment, has now converted to an everyday norm due to its convenience. The platforms are really simple to use and you can order whenever and wherever you like to fit your mealtimes around your schedule – something I talked about a few weeks ago in my Lunchscape blog.
The consumer cost of delivery-dining is interesting as there’s usually no discount, so you’re paying the same amount to eat in your apartment as you would to experience the service and atmosphere of a restaurant – this certainly doesn’t seem to of deterred anyone, with the majority of sales growth happening Monday – Wednesday, suggesting people are taking advantage of convenient delivery options through the week and more sociable dining at weekends.
On the restaurant operators side there are various advantages and disadvantages to delivery-dining, although I believe as we are still in the early stages of the food x tech evolution the disadvantages won’t be around for long. Like with any new concept that emerges there’s always a period of time needed to perfect how it works and best practices.
The main advantage for operators is they are able to extend their dining room capacity without the need for and structural changes or hefty refurbishment costs, they also benefit from the marketing capabilities of the service provider. Just being on a list of restaurants where consumers are constantly searching for meals provides brand awareness and potential sales, whilst taking advantage of the service provider’s marketing database and events helps showcase the brand across a national platform.
There’s a really obvious disadvantage of delivery-dining which is the delivery itself – how do you get restaurant-style hot food to the end user and maintain its quality throughout the journey. The issues are simple; the order is going to get shook up and look mess, hot food in containers sweats reducing quality, and of course hot food goes cold quickly. These are the main reasons why operators either don’t want to sign up or quit delivery-dining because the damage to their brand isn’t worth the extra revenue it provides.
Like I said, these problems wont be around for long. It’s mainly a product design and packaging issue and as the industry advances so will the technologies and procedures surrounding it, in a similar way to how the industry adapted to camera phones and Instagram. As people started taking more pictures of their food and posting them online restaurants soon learnt to design and develop dishes that were ‘Instagramable’ to please guests and take advantage of the marketing opportunity – the same will happen with delivery-dining. One area I’m interested to see develop in the restaurant x delivery space is Fine Dining, so far they haven’t been able to take advantage of any delivery options due to the highbrow concept of full service and dedicated tasting courses etc. but I’m sure it will happen soon enough.
We’ve already seen the online retail and delivery boom, with same day delivery, delivery times allocated within a hour window, concierge taking packages and now temperature controlled facilities for food delivery whilst you’re out and about, so delivery-dining seems like a natural next step. It’s a really exciting sector to follow with endless possibilities; operators are now able to share delivery networks to enhance their consumer service, Amazon’s buyout of Whole Foods in the US is surely one to watch, and with the development of food pods, drones, and driverless cars I’m sure there’ll be another shake up in due course.
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