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November 29, 2019

Who’s Eatin’ Your Food
Before You Do?

Tony Treadway

Barriers to Restaurant Delivery?

Third-party deliveries are some of the most important of the day for restaurant operators. According to Technomic, operators are experiencing a 20% increase in delivery sales this year.

Yet one of the big barriers for continued growth is the integrity of the package handed to customers by third-party delivery drivers. A dip in consumer confidence in the safety of the food they deliver can be a crisis for any operator. If you are a restauranteur here’s another thing to keep you up at night.

A recent survey by US Foods asked deliverers if they had ever taken food from an order. Nearly 30% confessed to the transgression. With a delivery sin so egregious, you know it must be an even bigger problem. While only 21% of consumers say they have suspected a delivery driver of taking food, the issue needs to be addressed before public scrutiny grows even more.

The survey asked consumers if they knew a driver had grabbed a few fries from their order how upset they would be. On a scale of 1 being “no big deal” and 10 being “absolutely unacceptable”, consumers ranked the issue an 8.4 on the Richter scale. The thought of who’s eating your food before you do is the number one issue that can impact delivery sales compared to lesser concerns like food not being warm, late deliveries or incorrect orders.

While a third-party delivery snafu can frequently be blamed on the driver, consumers blame the restaurant. Short of putting a padlock on the packaging, operators are using labor intensive techniques that are clumsy at best. I hope that packaging suppliers are racing to the rescue.

 Delivery is only going to increase as consumers demand convenience and product integrity. According to Technomic, 58% of foodservice orders are for off-premise dining. By 2020, the National Restaurant Association says 70% of meals will be takeout. The big opportunity is that 76% of consumers are likely to visit a restaurant after ordering food online*.

*Morar HPI