Delivery: is it the way forward-eroo?

Takeaways are not a new concept, but how we think of them is changing; no longer are they confined to Chinese, Indian or pizza on a Friday night, there is now a plethora of choice for every meal, at any time of day. Online delivery services like Deliveroo and UberEATS mean that your favourite restaurants can now serve you at home, work or out and about. In a recent TV series by Channel 4, we discovered that in the UK alone takeaway and delivery is growing 10 times faster than the eating out market and is estimated to be worth £8bn a year by 2020.

These delivery services work by partnering with restaurants and other food providers; from small independents to the international chains like Nando’s and KFC, delivering food to consumers who are willing to pay (Deliveroo currently charge £2.50 per delivery, whilst menu prices are at each restaurant’s discretion, but comparable with their inhouse prices) for what is seen as better-quality food, from a much bigger selection and without leaving their sofa or desk. Additionally, consumers are much more likely to reach for their mobile phones over a collection of old paper menus and so these apps are the place to be seen.

Partnering with one of these delivery providers allows a restaurant to increase sales without the overheads of setting up their own delivery service- this is the big difference with the digital enablers like JustEat and HungryHouse, who become the digital platform for more traditional takeaways that already have their own delivery network. Both types of service are providing an online presence and key marketing for local businesses, bringing in new customers- not just for delivery, and improving demand at what might otherwise be quiet times for eat-in customers.

Deliveroo started in London in 2013, devised by two Americans who wanted more lunch choices in the city, and it is now in over 100 towns and cities in the UK and 12 countries around the world. Whilst the abundance of places to eat in cities lends itself to their concept, it is also proving successful in mid-size towns too. Keeping delivery radius’ small reduces journey time for food; beneficial for riders and customers, and is allowing Deliveroo to promote their “hyperlocal” ethos- becoming part of the community and promoting local businesses.

The rise of companies like JustEat and Deliveroo was of course in response to technological era and the demand for online services which provide; speed, simplicity and reliability- in a word: convenience. Technology is key to these services and continues to develop, with companies now exploring drone deliveries and driverless cars. Deliveroo itself is built around a logistics algorithm which calculates which rider is in the best position for every order and links the apps used by restaurant, rider and customer for automated communication and slick execution.

Another trend that can give thanks to these delivery services are ghost kitchens, these are “restaurants” purely set- up for delivery; they are not open to eat-in customers, have no storefront and can be located anywhere; industrial estates to residential areas. These businesses could be start-ups which want to test the market before fully investing in opening a restaurant or dedicated virtual restaurants with lower rent and the ability to adapt menus quickly to customer demand. Already emerging in America with the likes of New York based Green Summit Group, they are proving a success amongst consumers – who may not even realise there is no physical restaurant to visit.

As convenience becomes deeper imbedded in foodservice, is delivery the next step? Online ordering is already on the increase, with US retailers like Wawa and Quick Trip using their mobile apps for pre-ordering. Plus, Sheetz have taken this further by partnering with delivery service OrderUp in two college locations. Some Deliveroo restaurant partners already offer alcoholic or canned beverages alongside their food offerings, what are the other possibilities? What if I wanted to order a bottle of wine and bag of popcorn for an impromptu movie night or needed a pick-me-up snack at work one afternoon? Could groceries be the next step in eat now deliveries?

How Deliveroo works

After a restaurant partners with Deliveroo and is available on their app, the process relies on a logistics algorithm to complete the orders.

Step 1: customer places order on app or online

Step 2: restaurant is notified of the order via an app in their kitchen- they accept the order and prepare the food for specified time

Step 3: In the meantime, the algorithm is used to assign a rider to this order and lets them know when to collect the order from the restaurant

Step 4: the rider collects the order from the restaurant and delivers to customer

The customer is able to follow the preparation and journey of their order from the app. Both restaurants and riders can choose when they are online allowing great flexibility.

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