The Expansion of Third Party Meal Delivery Companies

Bringing restaurant food to customers’ doors is becoming a fiercely competitive market. Soon you may even be greeted on your doorstep by a robot deliverer. Vicky Mayne brings you the latest launches from meal delivery companies around the world

Just Eat are set to trial self-driving delivery robots with selected restaurants in London in the next few months followed by further trials in Germany and Switzerland. Customers receive a security code to access their delivery on the robot’s arrival. The robots are able to deliver within a small radius from their origin point using cameras and sensors to navigate and are overseen by human operators at a control centre.

Just Eat’s chief product and technology officer Fernando Fanton says of the development. “We’ve always been committed to offering our customers new ways to order and pay for their food and now we’re right at the heart of a new way of delivering food which is as exciting for us as it will be for those who find a robot on their doorstep.”

Meanwhile, McDonalds has registered its McDelivery trademark in New Zealand following its success across Australia in the past year. McDonalds’ delivery service has been available to customers in Asia for many years but despite numerous trials in the west, McDonalds has not announced any plans to launch McDelivery across the US or Europe.

In the US, Amazon has launched its Prime Now meal delivery service in New York and Dallas, Texas. It is now available in 10 US cities and the company plans to compete by not charging delivery fees to its customers and not permitting restaurants to mark up prices. Customers must be subscribed to Amazon Prime to use the service.

US company DoorDash has expanded its services in Orange County, San Diego and Los Angeles to include beverage delivery. As one of its most requested app features, the company hopes the ability to have food and beverages delivered together will make customers choose DoorDash over its competitors.

The big question for restaurant owners and food service consultants is whether they will need to adapt their kitchens to cater for the rising home delivery service phenomenon. London restaurant Clockjack, owned by former chief operation officer at Center Parcs, Jerry Goldberg, has opened a second kitchen specifically for the takeaway market with an adapted menu. The restaurant runs its own delivery service as well as teaming up with Deliveroo.

Whilst third party meal delivery companies offer an increase in customers, restaurants will need to work out how to adapt to higher numbers of takeaway orders. They will also need to work closely together with delivery companies to maintain food safety standards. With apps developed to require minimal effort, the challenge to keep customers coming through restaurants’ door will need to be addressed creatively.

Read our in-depth article on the Deliveroo success story in the forthcoming Q3 2016 edition of Foodservice Consultant magazine

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