The ramifications of third-party delivery will continue to unfold in 2020. Sales growth among the Top 500 restaurant chains grew just 3.6% between 2017 and 2018. Third-party delivery sales grew by 55% according to Technomic.
Smart operators have responded by promoting their own delivery and take-out capabilities. Panera Bread® was first by ramping up its own delivery service to capture off-premise business catering with success. Others, such as Bloomin’ Brands® and Red Robin®, ramped up staffing to speed carry-out to their customers. Even The Cheesecake Factory® now offers free delivery to those with a $15 ticket. Investment in technology, staffing, merchandising, packaging and menu innovations were all at play at the end of 2019 to address the delivery juggernaut.
As you build your strategy, some key insights are worthy of consideration. A Technomic® survey found that only 11% of consumers would have dined in at the restaurant if delivery was not available. The same report found that 55% of consumers believe that third-party orders arrive faster than when a restaurant delivers the order. With an average ticket of a delivery order now at $34, many regional chains and independent operators understand the power of third-party providers.
DoorDash® is a leader in third-party delivery. Technomic reports the average number of transactions with a DoorDash customer is 2.46 times per month (just behind Uber Easts at 3.08 times per month). Whether you view third-party companies an ally or villain, insights from a market leader is of great value to you when it comes to menu items ordered by consumers or businesses. DoorDash shared some insights from their deliveries in 2019 that are thus worthy of note:
- 2019 was the year of Mexican food. Mexican food was the most popular cuisine ordered during the year, up 314% compared to 2018, followed by American, Chinese, Italian, Thai and Indian food. Burrito bowls were the most popular Mexican food ordered.
- Thai food was the “best new cuisine tried” by DoorDash customers in 2019.
- The top 10 most popular orders included: 1. Burrito Bowls 2. Chicken Tacos 3. Cheeseburger & Fries 4. Make-Your-Own-Pizza 5. Bean Burrito 6. Cobb Salad 7. Chicken Noodle Soup 8. Spicy Chicken Wrap 9. Taco Salad 10. Nachos.
- The big gainers in menu items ordered, apple pie (+1,550%), hash browns (+1,200%), tortilla soup (+1,130%), fried fish sandwiches (+1,030%), chicken fajitas (+428%) and mac & cheese (+420%) were notable.
- Among the most popular condiments ordered with their meals, ranch dressing, ketchup, hot sauce and mayo topped DoorDash orders.
- What is the most important delivery time? You guessed it – 7pm.
Overall, 66% of DoorDash customers say that food delivery is their preferred method for eating, second only to making their own meal from scratch and carry-out from a restaurant.
These and other insights can help make your menu planning a success in 2020. From the menu items you offer to the condiments that ride along, there is not denying the importance of a great delivery strategy this year.