Third Party Delivery Life or Death for the Restaurant Operator

The conversation surrounding food delivery continues to be a major concern for today’s restaurant operators as they wade through a number of new technologies providing third-party delivery solutions.

GrubHub is up by over 38 percent in sales. The online delivery marketplace has also acquired Tapingo, Eat24, and LevelUp, and recently partnered with Dunkin’. However, not far behind, DoorDash just overtook GrubHub in U.S. monthly food delivery sales. The ever-popular Uber maintains a steady 91 million monthly active users in over 20 countries and provides food delivery for 50 percent of the U.S. population.

Nevertheless, our research here at Foodable Labs shows that there are some beginning signs of fatigue in both the operator and the consumer in terms of sentiment toward third-party delivery. An analysis of over one million conversations about third-party delivery reveals a few key areas that consistently problematize the companies’ claims to convenience.

Top 10 Third-Party By Sentiment Rating

Source: Foodable Labs

The Fees hit both the operator and the consumer. Operators typically pay third-party companies 20 to 30 percent of the base cost of the ordered food. Depending on the delivery service, consumers may pay a yearly fee or pay fees for delivery from certain restaurants. In just this past quarter, there has been a sentiment drop of 3.6 points on the consumer side across the top ten delivery services. On the operator side, the drop is even direr: sentiment fell by 5.8 points.

The Data represents a constant battle between the operator and the delivery service: who owns a guest’s information, order habits, items, and frequency of purchase? The restaurants believe the guests’ data belongs to them because the customer is their guest eating their food, whereas delivery services want to leverage the data to the max with deals, app notifications, and constant marketing.

The Brand is a key area that hits home for every restaurant business. Because the restaurant loses control of the delivery, brand continuity often comes into question. Food safety and new packaging is a constant concern for restaurants to ensure they maintain each customer’s business and overall enjoyment of the restaurant.

The Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, one of the first restaurants to embrace delivery services, has refused since its beginnings to deal with third-party companies due to these issues. “We’ve been researching … what is best for our customers and our brand,” says Jimmy John’s Chief Marketing Officer John Shea. “In our exploration, we came to the conclusion that we do it better.”

The question still remains whether food delivery companies like GrubHub and UberEats can come up with a program to solve these issues. My take is that the industry is incredibly complex: businesses range from independent to franchises to emerging chains to Titans of QSR, and each business has different needs and complaints regarding the current model of third-party food delivery.

Some members of the industry are seeking the bottom line of profit, while others are looking for top-line sales and incremental lift. The brand also comes into play, and profit is always a factor. The guest connection could also change the entire landscape of food delivery over the course of the next few years.

A few brands are taking matters into their own hands. Third party delivery can deeply cut profits, so fast-casual restaurants like Modern Market and Panera Bread are investing in their own ordering and delivery platforms. This move is risky, as it could limit the company’s competitive potential. But the choice ensures that the restaurant can maintain brand continuity and better address customer concerns regarding the food delivery process.

Third party delivery providers have a fiduciary responsibility to grow the business and create stockholder value. And history shows that pushback from the community can be a deterrence to the growth of these companies. The real difference here is that the dynamics of the restaurant industry does not fare well for third-party deliverers. The real future for the third-party delivery companies lies in the development of their own foodservice brands —whether they are cloud and virtual kitchens, or full on commissary systems that can meet massive demand. In my video report from last November, I break down the idea of how third-party restaurant brand development is the real gold rush for likes of Uber and GrubHub.

Have Amazon Go and UberEats Become a Threat to Restaurant Operators?

Operators have always had to compete in the market with other concepts, but in today's market, there are a new set of power players ready to steal your customers.

Enter Amazon.

Amazon, like the fast casual segment, is catering to the on-the-go consumer with its cashier-less Amazon Go stores, many of which offer grab-and-go food options. These stores have become the most popular during the workweek, especially at lunchtime.

We recently analyzed the aggressive move Amazon is making in the foodservice industry. Listen to this episode of The Barron Report for more insights on if fast casual restaurants can survive this threat.

But there is one advantage that restaurants, namely fast casual restaurants, have over the Amazon Go stores– many have embraced the plant-based movement. According to Foodable Labs data, today's foodies can't get enough of these plant-based menu items.

Don’t miss our video breaking down this data about the plant-based movement below.

Amazon isn't the only threat operators need to be worried about. There is another shark circling to take a bite out of your business.

Third-party delivery services emerged as a solution that many operators desperately needed.

Since offering delivery has quickly become a guests' expectation, an operator has two options. One is to invest in significant funding to build a delivery program. However, this is easier said than done. It entails creating a system, investing in a platform to process these orders, hiring more staff to handle take-out and delivery orders, and then hiring reliable drivers to deliver these orders.

Or an operator can simply partner with a third-party delivery service, which eliminates most of the headaches. When you consider the operational and logistical challenges of offering delivery, its no wonder that operators across the country have decided to go the route of partnering with a third-party delivery service.

But now this has created a new problem.

One of the most popular delivery services out there is now UberEats. This company has quickly conquered the market. UberEats is currently offering food delivery for 50 percent of the U.S. population and has the lofty goal of serving 70 percent of the U.S. population by the end of this year.

As UberEats becomes more popular, the more the fees increase for the participating restaurants. Could this be correlated to the increase in restaurant closings?

Listen to the podcast above as The Barron Report host Paul Barron explains the data showing that third-party delivery growth may be tied to restaurant failures.

Food Delivery Discount Service Increases Sales During Restaurant Off-Peak Hours

Food Delivery Discount Service Increases Sales During Restaurant Off-Peak Hours

hough delivery has proven to be a huge market with the likes of UberEats and Grubhub snatching up restaurant dollars, it has also proven to be extremely expensive for operators and, consequently, for consumers.

According to Forbes, Restaurants could pay anywhere between 11% and 45% commission on each order if they sign up for a delivery service. And while restaurants admit that adding these services improve order numbers and total revenue, these rates are huge. And the delivery fees on the consumer side aren’t tiny either.

Two entrepreneurial brothers based in NYC noticed this issue while scouring for promo codes and coupons to lower their delivery order prices. Wondering, ‘why isn’t there some sort of food delivery happy hour’ Mohamed and Sidi Ahmed Merzouk set out to create this type of app.

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Restaurants Pinky’s Space & Cosa Buona Improve Packaging and Hold Times to Win Delivery Dollars

Restaurants Pinky’s Space & Cosa Buona Improve Packaging and Hold Times to Win Delivery Dollars
  • These restaurants are upping the ante when it comes to food delivery.

  • Colorful to-go boxes and menus cultivated for transit are methods to stand out in the food delivery industry.

Diners these days are looking for ease and convenience. They want food right from the oven to their door. With apps like GrubHub, UberEATS and Seamless delivery options are easy to find.

According to a study, the number of deliveries has risen ten percent. As a result of consumers craving convenience eating at home offers over eating out, restaurants are changing the way it does business.

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GrubHub Partners With Yelp to Offer Delivery From More than 80,000 Restaurants

GrubHub Partners With Yelp to Offer Delivery From More than 80,000 Restaurants

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, GrubHub and Yelp have expanded their partnership. GrubHub delivery will now be made available from twice as many restaurants on the Yelp website bringing the total number of restaurants to more than 80,000.

This move may prove to be extremely beneficial for GrubHub who has been feeling tension with the many food delivery companies like UberEats and DoorDash trying to grab the top spot.

This partnership with Yelp is actually the last step in what has been a major move for GrubHub. The food delivery giant acquired Eat24 for $288 million. This partnership is aimed at not only garnering more market visibility but also increasing convenience and cutting delivery fees and delivery time. Digital Trends says ”if multiple orders are generated through Yelp, drivers will be able to make multiple deliveries on a single trip.”

“I see a point where we could conceivably have extremely low if not free delivery for consumers,” GrubHub co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Matt Maloney told The Wall Street Journal.

Yelp is adding to the pot as well by trying to up their game as customer’s first stop before a dining experience. With this new focus on delivery, Yelp just released a list of the top-ranked restaurants on their site that offer delivery through their app.

With even super-cheap restaurants like McDonald’s and Taco Bell adding themselves to the delivery game, delivery companies will need to figure out how to get delivery prices below the price of a dollar menu meal if they want to scrape up that market.  

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