Food service industry dependent on the food delivery segment
For several years, the market of online food orders has been growing successively. Food deliveries are most frequently ordered by people aged 15 to 34, standing for nearly 70% of all the clients using delivery services. The ordering ones are the so-called Z generation that has been brought up surrounded by technology and are demanding and pragmatic in their choices. The loyalty of consumers to particular restaurants is proportional to the barriers they must overcome to use their range of products. This should be kept in mind, because these factors will have a significant impact on the further development of the food delivery sector. So what should ordering food online be like? Quick, simple, intuitive and convenient. Own website? Not necessarily. Mobile applications and aggregator sites are used most frequently, so you should focus your activities on them. Many restaurant owners believe that good food is enough, which is not necessarily true. It should be mentioned that, according to the statistics, as many as three-quarters of people quit the ordering process (no matter how good the food and the restaurant can be), if it seems too complicated.
Dark kitchens as a dark horse of the catering industry
What changes can we expect in the food delivery segment in the future? Certainly the further flourishing development of this sector. The character of catering establishments will also evolve. It can be assumed that there will be more and more restaurants called dark kitchens or shadow kitchens, which means that they do not have a room for consumers and are concentrated solely on offering dishes to be delivered to clients (or takeaway versions). In addition, the delivery time is as short as possible, because dark kitchens are often established on the outskirts of cities, outside the city centre. This has a beneficial effect not only on the optimization of the delivery time, but also on the quality of the meal. This solution brings measurable benefits to restaurant owners. The low rent and little expenditure on the conversion and functioning of the establishment have a significant influence on the cost of conducting business activity, and hence the possibility of offering competitive prices. All of this has a considerable impact on the recent rapid development of this sector. Over the next few years, taking into account the dynamic escalation of this trend, it can be expected that this will soon become a very important segment of the delivery market.
The catering industry and deliveries during the time of the COVID-19 epidemic
Undoubtedly, the situation of epidemiological threat is a difficult time for the HoReCa sector, but, on the other hand, the (already fast-developing) delivery market can turn out to be an unexpected beneficiary of the epidemic. The current situation has made consumers order takeaway dishes or choose food deliveries more frequently and willingly. Catering establishments have faced the choice of closing completely or shifting to the 'takeaway' work system, which means that the food is delivered to clients or collected by them personally. For many restaurants, it involves the necessity of implementing strategic changes in their functioning system, deliveries, or even the menu. A challenge is to meet the expectations of consumers, who want their meals to arrive warm and tasty and be of the highest quality. With the expectations of clients in mind, it is necessary to take care of selecting the suitable products for the delivery menu, as great takeaway food starts with the right ingredients. Not all products retain their optimal quality during delivery. If you are looking for product solutions that will work best in delivery, visit the delivery/takeaway food section and see how you can add variety to your range of takeaway dishes.
Safety above all!
Taking into account the coronavirus threat as well as the decisions taken by the state authorities and based on safety considerations, the whole sector must develop the highest sanitary standards regarding meal deliveries. The good practices are aimed at taking care of the hygiene and safety of all the people involved in the food delivery process and are an expression of utmost concern for consumers. What should be remembered when providing food delivery services in the period of the pandemic? Here are some of the most important issues:
- Taking into account any possible disruption in the delivery process, restaurant owners should assess the risks and develop a plan for the nearest weeks, or even months. They should take care of the supply chain and select the right products, while keeping in mind such factors as staff shortages, safety and the time needed for preparing the meals.
- In this time, which is difficult for the HoReCa sector, it is good to take care of ongoing communication with clients. You should inform them about the current mode of operation, deliveries, forms of payment and, obviously, about what they can find in the menu.
- You should enable contact-free receipt of the meals, preferably outside the building. Many delivery companies have quickly responded to this need by offering restaurant owners and clients contact-free food deliveries to limit the risk of the spread of the virus. For this purpose, you should consider the limitation of cash payments.
- It is necessary to introduce a procedure of disinfecting the vehicles delivering takeaway dishes and the whole equipment (both in a restaurant and handled by the courier delivering the food), as well as washing and/or disinfecting the hands of the staff and suppliers after every contact with foreign surfaces (e.g. door handles, payment terminals).
- It is important to take care of proper packaging of the dishes to be delivered, as this affects the quality and safety of the food. High quality packaging, for example made from solid and biodegradable materials, will ensure more durable food with the high content of humidity and the high temperature. And most importantly, the dishes are fresh and warm when they reach the client.
- It is best to use ingredients that will work well in the takeaway formula. Consider introducing dishes made especially for delivery or think about replacing some of the ingredients with the ones that are designed for the takeaway formula, and therefore they are more durable, maintain their structure and taste good for longer. Product solutions that will work best in delivery can be found here.
What are the prospects for the catering industry in this difficult time? Due to the turbulence related to the coronavirus, we can expect declines throughout the economy, and the catering sector is one of its cogs. However, as far as the food delivery sector is concerned, the research shows that the online food ordering option is becoming more and more popular, whereas the global takeaway market is growing even by 50% per annum and is worth about 120 billion dollars. It is still a large and relatively fresh niche where there is still room for many new players. Especially now when in the age of closed restaurants, cafés and bistro bars, food delivery is practically the only option to survive for restaurant owners.