The food delivery industry is continuing to grow at a rapid-fire pace, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon. Digital restaurant orders grew 23% annually since 2013 and are expected to triple in volume by 2020, according to The NPD Group. As the industry evolves, new players are going for their cut of the pie, while new technologies are taking on-demand culture to another level. Check out these key trends on the horizon for 2020! 

#1 Grocers are getting in on the action

Restaurants aren’t the only ones tapping into the potential of delivery. Food retailers, including major grocery store chains, are jumping in as well. In the US Amazon and Walmart are competing for grocery delivery with regional supermarket chains like Kroger, while Tesco is leading the way in the booming UK market. As for Europe, Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize has been delivering groceries to homes since 2016, and Carrefour has been delivering on a large scale since 2017. 

Grocery delivery“One competitive challenge for grocers is that supermarkets aren’t as suited to delivery due to high selection and transportation costs”

Grocery delivery is just part of an overall food retail trend toward providing more convenient meal options, including takeout meals, packaged ready meals and meal kits, that are giving restaurant delivery a run for their money. One competitive challenge for grocers is that supermarkets aren’t as suited to delivery due to high selection and transportation costs. While restaurants can take advantage of working with delivery partners like Uber Eats, food retailers have had to focus on developing their own services.

#2 More delivery options than ever

Whether they order their food from a grocery store or a restaurant, shoppers are really all looking for the same thing: timely, accurate and personalized delivery. With all the options created by the rise of on-demand culture, letting customers get their food how and when they choose is becoming the new normal. For grocers, options that are becoming standard include in-store, curbside or drive-through pickup, as well as delivery to the location of choice. 

Meal delivered by droneFor 2020, customers can also start expecting same-day delivery and even “in-fridge” delivery, where retailers directly deliver groceries to the customer’s refrigerator. Meanwhile, delivery will be going beyond apps to allow delivery through virtual assistants, via tweets, from your car and on your smart TV. Add in the development of delivery bots and drones, and the future of delivery is looking pretty sci-fi!

#3 Food companies are handling it solo

While in the beginning most restaurants getting into delivery partnered up with food courier services like Uber Eats and Deliveroo, many have found these to have their disadvantages. Since the driver works independently and is only partially accountable to the restaurant, restaurants have limited control over complaints concerning drivers and delivery times. 

“More and more businesses are introducing their own delivery service”

Using a third party service is also a missed opportunity for the personal touches that create maximum customer impact, for example providing spices or extra napkins. That’s why more and more businesses are introducing their own delivery service. Adding a delivery service to your company isn’t that difficult. It’s up to you to decide whether you’ll benefit more from working with a third party service or if you can make your own delivery system work. Whether you choose to work with a partner or to go at it alone, integrating your restaurant POS with delivery apps and managing food delivery orders via Deliverect helps keep things running smoothly.

#4 Changes behind the scenes

Adding delivery services means having staff on board that can manage delivery-specific tasks and know how to work with solutions like Deliverect. Food retailers staff will have to be trained for e-commerce pick-and-pack and be ready to pick up new skills to adapt to a changing industry. Another trend that was already hot in 2019 and is going to heat up even more in 2020 is the ghost kitchen. 

Food in a takeaway container“The concept of ghost kitchens now includes restaurants with a small pick-up area for guests to grab their food themselves”

Spooky as they sound, these aren’t kitchens operated by phantoms, but are rather restaurants operating for delivery only, without a dining space. This means lower overhead and staffing costs, making it a profitable option in cities where rents are skyrocketing. The concept of ghost kitchens, also called ‘cloud kitchens or ‘dark kitchens’,  now includes restaurants with a small pick-up area for guests to grab their food themselves. Though they can in principle provide direct delivery, by now ghost kitchens almost exclusively work through third-party delivery services.

#5 Delivery is going greener   

Today’s customers are more environment-conscious than ever, and expect more eco-friendly and even zero waste options. The delivery business, traditionally a packaging heavy hitter, is being pressured to change its game. Fast food giant McDonald’s is on it, promising to use only 100% renewable or recycled packaging by 2025. European supermarket chains Delhaize and Carrefour have launched reusable cotton bags for produce, and other retailers are taking similar measures to ban plastic. And Uber Eats is leading the way on cutting down on disposable utensils and straws by only providing them upon request instead of throwing them in automatically. Curious about how your business can become more eco-friendly? Read our post about sustainable packaging.

The delivery industry is growing and evolving at breakneck speed. Deliverect can help you keep up with the trends while helping you run a tight ship. Check out our solutions and get in touch!

Magali De Reu
By Magali De Reu

Freelance storyteller & copywriter