How delivery has transformed the restaurant industry
It’s impossible to imagine the food and restaurant industry today without food delivery. Just a few years ago, takeaway and delivery was all about pizza, kebab and Chinese food. In 2019, it’s a whole new world: with a few clicks you can now easily order your favorite dish, wherever you are, and have it delivered to your door in a heartbeat.
Zhong Xu, co-founder and CEO of Deliverect, has seen some big changes in the past few years. “The online world started to strongly evolve around 4 to 5 years ago,” he says. “The retail sector started building up investments in everything digital, making it increasingly easier for consumers to order products online. Delivery set a new standard, one which was quickly picked up by other industries, like hospitality.”
“Back in those days, takeout was especially popular. Restaurants that did already deliver food, only had a small market share of about 5 to 10%,” Zhong continues. “The only food that could be delivered was almost exclusively low-cost or fast food. It was almost inconceivable there’d be a future with high-end and healthy food delivery. But today, the delivery business has exploded - it’s an industry that’s seen a YoY growth of 20% - that’s huge. Because of that growth, a diversified offer has become possible, so all kinds of restaurants can get a piece of the action.”
New consumer needs
It doesn’t look like the booming delivery business will slow down anytime soon. In Europe alone, food delivery revenues are estimated at 24.5 billion dollar by 2023*. The continued success of food delivery was to be expected, according to Zhong. “Once people get used to an increased level of comfort, they don’t want to go back. In the past, lunchtime at the office was basically about which sandwich you were going to choose, but today you can choose from poké bowls and sushi, spaghetti, burgers or pretty much anything you desire. The modern consumer has become accustomed to a varied offer, and there’s no turning back.”
“Restaurants must invest in their brand at an omni-channel level as a means of expanding their sales"
Investing in automation
In Zhong’s opinion, restaurants today mainly need to be present on multiple channels in order to stay on top of the game. “Restaurants must invest in their brand at an omni-channel level as a means of expanding their sales. A physical restaurant is limited by the maximum number of place settings - online sales channels, however, have no limit. Moreover, scaling your online business is easier. That also explains the rise of cloud kitchens, virtual restaurants where food is prepared exclusively for delivery. A dark kitchen allows you to build a brand, but you don't need a physical address.”
In order to grow along with the industry, restaurants need to adopt numerous tools to automate their online sales. "Nowadays there are so many different ordering options that you really have no choice but to automate," Zhong explains. “You can order from third-party delivery platforms, such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo or Takeaway.com, among others, but you can also order via Google, on the restaurant’s website, via Facebook or Twitter or sometimes even through a virtual assistant like Alexa from Amazon. Selling your brand through multiple platforms leads to increased revenues, but only if you invest in a decent tool that can help you optimize your food delivery operation.”
By Zhong Xu
Co-founder & CEO of Deliverect, life-saving delivery management software
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