Defying delivery firm disruption


Defying delivery firm disruption

wagamama delivery

One of the most notable trends over the past years is the sharp rise in third party delivery start-ups, catering to the digital generation with online platforms and apps for ordering quality meals straight to their door. Since London delivery firm Deliveroo began in 2013, its services have expanded to urban centres worldwide, and now has an estimated valuation of £1 billion. UberEats has now launched in central London, with plans to expand across the UK in the near future. Last year, Amazon began experimenting with hot meal deliveries in the US.

Delivery services offer hospitality operators access to the entire catchment area of the delivery firm, but that opportunity comes at a price. In a recent article by The Caterer, one large burger business was cited as taking 6% of its turnover from Deliveroo; "a staggeringly big number" which is only matched by the 25% commission that Deliveroo reportedly takes.

Nevertheless, many of the larger chains are taking advantage of these firms, factoring in costs when setting up in new locations. Pizza Express, for instance, were recently looking at rolling out their own delivery service, but decided instead on working with Deliveroo - the low costs and limited time expenditure is a financially inviting prospect. Busaba Eathai's partnership with Deliveroo has seen their delivery sales increase from 'virtually zero' to "£3m a year and growing."

Despite their budget constraints, smaller food outlets stand to reap the benefits too. In locations where demand for space is high, independent operators can secure a smaller site with fewer seats, yet with meals going out for delivery they can still meet their overheads.

But while these new delivery firms are revolutionising the food industry for both operators and guests, they bring with them a whole lot of new problems for providing a dependable, high-quality guest experience.

The main issue is that for the duration of the delivery, your product is out of your control. For example, restaurant deliveries often have trouble with product degradation over the course of the journey - something that is rarely a problem between the kitchen and the restaurant table. Delicate thin crust pizzas and towering gourmet burgers are unlikely to travel as well in the back of a car as do the sturdy dough bases of a Dominoes, or the stackable plastic tubs frequently used in takeaways. And unlike in your own restaurant, you have no way of knowing about the problem, and so no opportunity to rectify it prior to it reaching the guest.

Unexpected delays, a common complaint from guests when talking about bad service, are also out of your control with a delivery service. Even if it leaves your kitchen piping hot and delicious, if it arrives lukewarm and 20 minutes late due to traffic, the guest won't be impressed. In the comfort of their own homes, guests may have more patience than is typical. However, feeling as though they've waited for a lacklustre meal will soon put paid to that, especially without staff to explain the situation or offer them refills while they wait.

In the absence of staff to register their displeasure with, guests have little choice but to turn to social media or review sites to air their grievances. At least in this, it's possible for hospitality operators to regain their control. Ensure your staff are on top of online feedback, whether you're receiving it though a branded system, review sites, or social media.

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