Tech Viewpoint: Three interesting on-demand food delivery trends

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Tech Viewpoint: Three interesting on-demand food delivery trends

By Dan Berthiaume - 08/30/2019
Customer appetite and constant connectivity are driving innovation in the online delivery space for food retailers.

Hungry consumers have been ordering food for delivery since long before the advent of digital commerce. As omnichannel technology grows in sophistication, so does the opportunity to let customers satiate themselves at the tap of a button. Here are three trends to watch in on-demand food delivery.

Group ordering
Eating is one of the most social activities people participate in. Retailers and on-demand delivery providers are starting to recognize the communal nature of food by offering different types of group ordering options.

For example, leveraging the new group ordering feature from online delivery platform Postmates, a group of people can each open the Postmates app or site from their own device and place an order together at the same time, sending each of their items into one cart. Everyone’s order is delivered by the same driver.

And Gregorys Coffee, an independent coffee retailer with 30 stores in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., is leveraging the “Piggyback” social group ordering feature of pickup app Ritual to enable workplace teams and other groups of consumers to collaboratively order coffee and food, creating a peer-to-peer delivery network.

Multiple platforms
As mentioned above, when it comes to delivering food to consumers, many retailers take a “more the merrier” approach. Some retailers are also open to offering delivery via a variety of proprietary and third-party platforms.

Panera Bread is introducing a national delivery offering that includes the third-party DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats platforms, as well as its own app and website. Whether customers order via Panera’s apps or through one of its partners, their orders will be delivered to them by Panera’s own delivery drivers in most markets.

McDonald’s is also expanding the options available to users of its nationwide McDelivery on-demand delivery service. The fast-food giant recently expanded a Houston-area pilot of DoorDash to locations across the country. Having initially launched McDelivery in partnership with UberEats in 2017, McDonald’s now delivers food from 10,000 stores using both platforms.

Panera and McDonald’s may be on to something. The average food delivery consumer has two delivery apps, according to a recent survey from US Foods. The most popular app is Uber Eats, followed by Grubhub, DoorDash, and Postmates. Respondents are slightly more likely to start with a restaurant in mind and look for it in the apps (54%) than start by opening the app and then looking for ideas (46%), giving more incentive to offer delivery via multiple platforms.

Wherever you go, there your food is
Sometimes, hunger strikes away from home or the office. Intrepid retailers are delivering food to remote locations that may offer few or no other dining options.

Since 2018, pizza retailer Domino’s has offered its Hotspots service. Domino’s Hotspots are dedicated locations where the company will deliver pizza, such as beaches, parks, and stadium lots. Consumers can find nearby hotspots online or via mobile device.

In June 2019, 7-Eleven launched 7Now Pins, on-demand delivery technology that allows users to order products to locales such parks, beaches, sports fields, and entertainment venues. The proprietary hot spot technology was developed in house by the 7-Eleven digital team and has added more than 2,000 7Now Pins, or hot spots, to the 7Now delivery app. Eligible items include food, drinks, and groceries.