In our increasingly on-the-go society, speed and accessibility are driving factors in consumers’ food choices. The restaurant industry has noticed this trend, giving new competition to convenience and grab-and-go food items stored in commercial refrigerators.
The growing focus on delivery services is changing the industry much in the same way drive-thru dining did years ago. There are two primary consumer markets — Millennials and busy workers who don’t want to leave the office for lunch.
Delivery might be the future of the restaurant industry. Here are a few ways this growing trend is shaping how we view and access convenience foods.
Third-Party Delivery Services
For years, companies like Grubhub have dominated the food delivery space. Today, startups, self-employed drivers, and companies like Yelp and Uber are expanding into the market. If consumers are hungry but don’t want to leave the house or the office, there’s an app for that.
Yelp24 is a 24/7 delivery service that covers over 1,500 U.S. cities. It offers a split check feature, easy online payment options, and access to 35,000 restaurant menus.
UberEats covers a global market, providing food delivery across the United States, South America, Europe, and more. Users have the option to order food in real time or place orders to be delivered in the future.
Innovations in Delivery Programs
When consumers order delivery, they expect the same quality and consistency they’d get at the restaurant. However, not all foods fare well with delivery. In order to meet demands, restaurants have to take an innovative approach to their delivery service.
Many restaurants proactively provide third-party delivery vendors with insulated containers, bags, and delivery packaging. Dual-compartment packaging ensures that cold and hot items don’t touch one another. Insulated containers help food items like fries stay crisp.
Fast-casual and other foodservice operations that do a lot of delivery orders have started revamping parking lots. This could entail adding bike racks in urban areas or creating parking spots specific to delivery drivers.
Changes in Kitchen & Dining Area Design
As delivery increases in popularity, many restaurants are creating special packaging areas that focus on prepping to-go items. These areas are stocked with insulated bags and carriers to keep food fresh. They may use open-air or countertop refrigeration units for quick access to condiments and other cold items.
Some restaurants are segregating food prep areas and lines to increase efficiency. Dine-in food items are prepped in one section, and carry-out, online, and delivery orders are prepared in another. This increases speed and efficiency in the kitchen without sacrificing food quality.
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