Traditional Takeout vs. Food Courier Delivery Service: How Technology is Impacting the Food Service Industry

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It is an understatement to say that technology has enriched and impacted nearly every industry. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Connected Devices, a digital revolution in progress, and nearly every piece of information available to us existing in “the cloud” it’s hard to imagine a part of our lives that have not been touched by technology. Yes, that includes the food industry as well.

Today’s Consumer

Who are the consumers driving this new market? The obvious answer here would be millennials who are very much in tune with technology and the newest and trendiest apps and services. This group of people typically selects the most convenient, quickest option to meet their needs. In addition to this group, there are many more profiles that align with the services these apps offer. This fact is not only true of millennials but employees who typically work later hours and frequently need to order dinner to the office or busy mothers or fathers who need to provide a meal after a long day at work or a weekend full of activities. It is important to realize that food service apps are valuable in the sense that they appeal to a diverse demographic which will result in a lucrative profit for the restaurant. When your audience is not one specific group, there is a much greater likelihood of success because of variety.

Customers Love Options

It all began with the concept that, instead of braving the local grocery store on a Sunday afternoon, you now have the option to order your groceries online and get them delivered right to your door. The rest of the food industry caught on and now, the days of getting takeout from your favorite restaurant are becoming less common with the rise of numerous, popular food courier service apps. Though it is not as personalized an experience as going to your favorite Mom & Pop Italian restaurant and picking up your “regular” order, these apps provide countless options from many different cuisines from the comfort of your home. This appeals to customers who may want to broaden their horizons in terms of types of food and restaurants, particularly those who live in a larger city and have more options available to them. The home delivery is a product of the desire for comfort, convenience and changing customer behavior. It is having an immense impact on the foodservice industry as a whole.

So, what’s so great about food service apps?

Within the past two years, food service apps have risen in popularity. Among the most popular are UberEats, GrubHub, SkipTheDishes, Postmates, and Doordash. The concept of these tech-enabled food delivery platform is essentially the same: customers can scan the possible restaurant and menu options from their phones, set up order and payment information, and get the food delivered right to their door. Tips can be applied automatically when ordering, and customers can save their favorite restaurants and dishes to order again in the future. Simple and convenient, these new options appeal to a generation of young people who lead busy, fast-paced lives and don’t want to have to put in the extra effort to get their meals after a long weekday or on weekend.

Not only are these apps incredibly user-friend but they also eliminate the need to leave your home for a meal, or even pick up the phone and articulate your order to a human employee. This certainly helps to eliminate the possibility of error, or orders getting lost or forgotten. Additionally, all order information is tracked within these apps, so if there is a problem with the order or food itself, every part of the transaction is documented for reference, if needed. More advanced food service options like HelloFresh, which delivers all ingredients necessary for a particular meal right to your door, appeal to the younger, busier generations of young adults who find themselves too busy during the week to grocery shop and meal prep.

The real question here is: what does this mean for the traditional restaurant model?

Restaurants that have established themselves as staples in their respective communities should not feel as threatened by the “food courier service takeover”, particularly if they are located in a small suburb rather than a large city. The odds are, patrons of these restaurants will remain loyal and will not mind making the extra effort to pick up the phone to place a to-go order, or drive a few minutes down the road to pick up their favorite dish for dinner.

Melissa Wilson, principal at Techonomic, a research source for food industry professionals, cited the following statistic in a recent article on Restaurant Business Online:

“Research shows that, by the year 2026, 80% of millennials will be parents. Combine that with nearly half of consumers prefer to eat at home. The result is incremental sales growth for restaurant operators who can provide the optimal food delivery experience.”

However, for restaurants who do want to implement this new technology, a few important factors come into play. Smaller, suburban restaurants need to ensure that they have the appropriate resources to keep up with the demand and amount of orders that these food delivery couriers could potentially generate new business streams. This is in regard to employees to take charge of deliveries, additional kitchen staff to keep up with the amount of additional, electronic orders coming through the system, and someone specifically assigned to keep these orders organized. Additionally, restaurant owners must take a step back and decide if this entire process is worth the extra effort.

MenuSano: The Helpful Tech Solution

How does MenuSano relate to food service apps? In the same way that restaurants can label their meals with our nutrition software, food service tech solution can do the same. As of now, there are very few restaurants that have complete nutritional information available for all of their dishes.

MenuSano nutritional analysis software details the total amount of calories in the serving and the serving size as well as the fat and carbohydrate breakdown in terms of fiber and sugar. It also shows protein, sodium, and vitamins A & C as well as calcium and iron. By utilizing MenuSano you have the opportunity to provide consumers with this information up front. With this information, customers can make informed decisions on what they want to order and will appreciate your transparency and accountability. Not only that but if you use it in tandem with being one or more food service apps, you will set yourself apart from the rest of the countless other options available to customers.

Give it a try and sign up for a free trial with MenuSano today!

Key Takeaways

Overall, tech-enabled food service solutions are very rapidly transforming the future of the food industry. By appealing to a wide range of consumers, offering versatile options in terms of cuisine, and providing a convenient, alternative option for “dining out”, this innovative solution will continue to be a major factor in the development of the food service industry for years to come. While current popular tech-enabled food couriers in the market will certainly not take the place of the “family-favorite” restaurants any time soon, it is a trend that all industry participants should be aware of. If you are an owner of one of these more traditional establishments, rather than viewing these apps as something that can “replace” your existing business, you could consider implementing the technology as a supplement to your current offerings, should it align with your overall business strategy. In doing so, you will not only boost the potential for your business to grow but will show that you are aware of and participating in these evolving, technological times.

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