The On-Demand Delivery Trends and the Technology Driving Them

The future of on-demand ordering could be summed up to one simple statement– It’s just beginning.

According to Foodable Labs, over 30% of the U.S. Restaurant industry is offering some kind of on-demand third-party ordering solution. Over 80% of consumers under the age of 35 are using on-demand food ordering apps about two times a week, proving the delivery segment has exploded thanks to the new age consumer and their dining habits.

The Big 6 are the lion's share of the market, but our research now shows over 100 on-demand food delivery companies serving the 1.2MM restaurant and food companies in the US.

The breakdown of Engagement and Sentiment tells an underlying story of these companies and how consumers view them and eventually, how restaurant operators may view them as well.

Engagement is scored by an analysis of how often consumers mention the use of the app or service on social along with an analysis of the Sentiment of the service based on food delivery speed, quality, accuracy.

The Engagement and Sentiment Scores of the Leading Third-Party Delivery Companies

According to this data, the Best Quality goes to the company Caviar. As the leader in the Sentiment area of Quality, this may be based on great service, but the company also recently acquired by Square. Remember Square is also a POS company and is tied to transaction-based business models. Recently Caviar added a spotlight that says "who's making your food" and has labels like women-owned restaurants. The overwhelming support by their users has given their consumer Sentiment score a boost.

Best Accuracy: Caviar came through as the leader in this area as well with a unique Sentiment score that showed this as one of the most appreciated aspects of its user base. Caviar's, along with other delivery apps', performance is being measured by the Chicago-based delivery search engine Food Boss, which is being led by the former McDonald's CEO Don Thompson.

Best Speed: Uber Eats takes this slot with what was one of the best Sentiment scores based on the overall app Sentiment. This has little to do with the ordering process and making a restaurant selection, which for most users ties into the overall speed of the order. As they continue to use their technology to analyze user behavior, Uber continues to have the upper hand when it comes to speed that other companies may not be able to pace.

I had a chance to explore one of the technology companies that has created a solution to centralize the on-demand challenge of being listed on multiple platforms mainly for discovery.

Ordermark has created a solution to centralize the in-store technology to create a more seamless integration into food operations which over time has become one of the most challenging aspects of the on-demand food ordering explosion.

Every restaurant operator understands discovery is the key to success and the solution in today’s world is not Facebook or Twitter, instead, it's being on as many on-demand platforms that you can handle. Alex Canter, CEO and founder of Ordermark and I discuss the growth aspects of the company and the delivery sector, as well as technology and operational challenges of the future of on-demand food ordering and where it might be heading.

Robot Employees are the Latest Grocery Store Technology

2019 is proving to be an innovative year for the foodservice industry. Technological advances such as cashless stores and apps that help fill more restaurant seats with hungry diners aren’t the only latest trends.

Some of the latest innovations we’ve seen at Foodable are introducing technological advances, like robots, to the grocery store space.

Grocery chain Stop and Shop, is partnering with mobile market startup Robomart to bring a new method of grocery delivery to Boston this Spring. Instead of having customers order their groceries and deliver them to the door, customers will be able to order a remote-operated Robomart vehicle to their door via an app and pick out their own produce from a pre-stocked vehicle.

The Robomart app utilizes a patent-pending RFID “check-out free” system, charging customers automatically for items.

Another way technology is becoming more prevalent in the grocery store space is shown by Giant Food Stores.

Recently, the chain introduced a robot named Marty to its 172 United States stores. Marty is  built to roam around the store, looking for spills and trip hazards, which are reported to store employees. But that’s not all Marty can do, the robot can scan shelves for items that are out of stock, and perform price checks, looking for discrepancies between the shelf and the store’s scanning system.

Watch the video above to learn about other technological advances in the grocery store industry, and what companies are employing robots.

Produced by:

Rachel Brill

Rachel Brill

Social Producer


Why Tech-Focused Fast Casuals are Attractive to Investment Firms

Healthy-halo fast casual brands are not only on the rise because they fit the lifestyle of so many consumers looking to maintain a healthier diet, but most of these concepts have also seamlessly incorporated technology.

One of these brands sweetgreen, a make your own salad chain, is using technology to enhance the customer experience.

"Nearly half of Sweetgreen’s customer orders are placed through its app; that data is used to tweak menu offerings and make personalized recommendations," writes "Wired."

As customers gravitate more to online ordering, the restaurants with these systems in place in-house are at an advantage. Sweetgreen also uses this data to determine how much each store should order of each ingredient. So, this helps to keep food waste at a minimum.

Another up and coming healthy-focused restaurant start-up Joe & Juice is expected to IPO later this year after receiving millions in investment.

The restaurants ahead of the curve when it comes to artificial intelligence and data collection have become the most attractive to investors.

“The next five years will be more disruptive to food service operators than the last 50,” says restaurant consultant Aaron Allen, pointing to the boom in online ordering, which is expected to grow nearly four times faster than the rest of the restaurant industry, and in delivery-only “ghost kitchens.” VCs are betting that diners are willing to trade physical restaurants—and personal data—for AI-extracted “content," writes "Wired."

Read more about the venture firms investing in tech-focused fast casual brands at "Wired."

We have been following sweetgreen since it was founded in 2007. In 2016, the brand moved its headquarters to LA, a strategic move to be closer to the tech industry.

In a recent episode of The Barron Report, Host Paul Barron outlines why he thinks sweetgreen has become the next fast casual unicorn. Watch the video below to learn more.

Yelp Shares Spike After Most Recent Quarterly Earnings Report



The popular local-search service and review site Yelp saw a 10 percent jump in its shares after the company reported its latest quarterly earnings and revenue.

The earnings report exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

"The company reported earnings of $0.37 per share on revenue of $243.7 million. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected adjusted earnings per share of $0.36 on revenue of $241.2 million for the final three months of 2018," writes "Markets Insider."

This is quite the improvement from last quarter where the company reported earnings results that fell short of expectations, causing Yelp's share to plummet.

Although the company's shares have increased by 12 percent this year, Yelp has struggled to return to its 52-week high in 2018.

The shares are still 26 percent below the 2018 high.

But Yelp is aiming to "exit 2019 with strong revenue growth."

However, the review service is navigating through somewhat of a PR nightmare after SQN Investors LP, one of the largest investors of Yelp, issued a public letter expressing frustration with the company.

The letter says the board of director' "patience has now worn out" after "a history of repeated strategic and operational missteps, missed expectations, sharp guidance revisions, and poor corporate governance that has led to significant stock underperformance."

Yelp was quick to respond saying it welcomes "any ideas and investor input" and that the company is looking for additional Board candidates to "drive" strategy.

Will Yelp be able to overcome this PR challenge? As the market becomes more saturated with crowd-sourced review platforms like Facebook and Google, will Yelp be able to remain the leader in the review and recommendation category?

Read more about Yelp's latest shares spike at "Markets Insider."

From an operator standpoint, managing yelp and other reviews sites can be a pain. Luckily, there are tools out there to help manage online customer interaction. Check out some tech apps that can make an operator's life easier in the On Foodable episode below.

Restaurant Ordering is on Track to Triple by 2020



Guests expect that restaurants offer digital conveniences like online ordering. With that in mind, more restaurants are either partnering with third-party apps or developing online ordering platforms that are mobile friendly.

According to a recent report from the NPD Group, digital orders are up by 23 percent annually since 2013 and by 2020, this percentage is expected to triple.

Guests are now more inclined to make a food order digitally than calling the restaurant directly. They are also more likely to do this from their smartphone versus a computer. Six out of 10 digital orders are made on mobile apps.

Food delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash are wildly popular and now make up 40 percent of the 20 most-used apps. These apps offer consumers multiple food options to pick from.

From a restaurant standpoint, these apps are an easy solution to the delivery problem. By partnering with a delivery app, you can offer your customers the convenience of delivery without investing in a driver or a platform to process these orders.

Even though the third-party services have made it easier for brands to offer delivery, they do cut significantly into profits. So we are starting to see more restaurants shift away from these services.

"There are clear leaders in the digital ordering space, brands, and third-party providers who have achieved critical mass the fastest," said David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor. "To make the best decisions about digital strategies and potential partnerships, operators need to understand the key features that differentiate these companies from one another."

Restaurants definitely lose some of the control of these orders. Ultimately, it's up to the third-party's delivery driver to get the food and bring it to the guest in the estimated time frame. So the service aspect is heavily dependent on the delivery provider, not the restaurant.

According to the NPD report, over half of the consumers said they wouldn't use delivery if the food was to come cold or with the incorrect temperature. Read more about the report at “Restaurant Dive” now.

Want some tips on how to provide a delivery program that works? Watch this episode of On Foodable below, where we discuss how to implement delivery services, packaging, menus, and even restaurant design in order to optimize delivery efficiency.