McDonald’s’ partnership with UberEATS redefines chain restaurant delivery

Partnership covers delivery testing at 134 McDonald’s locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, 55 restaurants in Orlando and 30 in Tampa Bay, says Amelia Levin

Big burger and other non-pizza fast food chains need all the help they can get to win over fast-casual-obsessed Millennials these days. The key might just be in delivery.

Burger King was one of the first of these types of chains to roll out delivery in select markets, buying special delivery supplies to keep burgers fresh and fries crispy en route. Yelp’s delivery service Eat24 offers deliveries from Subway and smaller, more regional chains. Other chains that have recently launched third-party run delivery services in select areas include Chipotle, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, and Taco Bell. And then Wendy’s launched delivery in four test markets in D.C. for a $2 fee.

Most recently, McDonald’s partnered with UberEATS, the driving app’s meal delivery service to offer door-to-door menu items (except soft serve ice cream cones) first in Tampa Bay and Miami, and potentially in other markets nationwide. Customers place their orders via the UberEATS mobile app or at for a $4.99 fee, and can track their order during delivery.

The partnership involves delivery testing at 134 McDonald’s locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties as well as 55 restaurants in Orlando and 30 in the Tampa Bay market, according to a published statement by Pam Williams, director of growth platforms for McDonald’s USA. If the tests are successful, the service could be rolled out to other chain locations nationwide.

McDonald’s wouldn’t comment, but one can assume that its reason for going through with the UberEATS delivery partnership might be to cater to a younger audience that expects on-demand everything, from movies, games and other entertainment, to car service and of course, food and drink. According to Mintel, delivery remains most popular among Millennial males in urban markets – 69 percent of this group stated in a survey they ordered food delivered in the last three months of last year. Overall, 45 percent of Millennials have ordered delivery during this time.

Consistency is key

Uber prides itself on its prevalence of cars and the speed of availability, so execs have said the company is poised to be able to deliver hot food hot and cold food cold.

That said, chain restaurant delivery might not be as easily executed as thought. The likely issue for chains like McDonald’s and Burger King that pride themselves on the freshness of their crispy fries and burgers is consistency. Most culinary and restaurant veterans – and anyone who has waited too long with a bag of the food in their car before reaching their destination – know that burgers and fries don’t travel well.

To counteract this conflict, Burger King rolled out a custom hot-holding solution using separate insulated bags that keeps the fries separately from the burger – with separate compartments for the hot burger patty and the cold fixings.

McDonald’s and UberEATS wouldn’t comment on the protocol and potential equipment and supplies needed for fresh, consistent delivery of the menu items, but one might assume these issues are being carefully considered.

“We are most certainly very interested in the fast-growing delivery business not just in the U.S. but globally, so we are excited about the opportunity to provide even more convenience and more accessibility to our customers who have been asking for us to deliver,” Pam Williams, director of growth platforms for McDonald’s USA, told the Miami Herald, but reiterated that this is still in the pilot phase and may not move forward into permanency if customers don’t respond to or use the service.

The NPD Group has forecasted that restaurant delivery will actually beat out overall restaurant industry traffic growth over the next decade.

Still, at a nearly $5 delivery fee for items that cost less than even that amount, using UberEATS just to get McDonald’s door-to-door might be hard for budget-conscious Millennials to stomach. And, with a greater passion for healthier eating, the convenience of delivery might not be strong enough to justify the purchase of clearly indulgent fast food. Except, perhaps, for maybe that late-night or next-day, post-socializing need if you catch that drift.

Amelia Levin


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