Food delivery

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Rise of the ‘Not’ Delivery Platforms

Rise of the ‘Not’ Delivery Platforms

by David Klemt

The big third-party delivery services are facing pushback in the form of community-based competition.

We’ve kept our eye on this burgeoning trend and the push for operators to implement first-party delivery, also known as direct delivery.

It isn’t directly related to hospitality but the first of the “not” sites that grabbed our attention was Not Amazon. As the name suggests, Not Amazon is…well…not Amazon.

The founder highlights businesses owned and operated by women and BIPOC and LGBTQA+ people. However, Not Amazon goes even further, as illustrated in their mission statement:

“Providing the most we can, while taking as little as possible, in order to build a new kind of community.”

Community and neighborhood support is at the core of Not Amazon. The digital era has been marked by local, mom-and-pop brick-and-mortar businesses suffering in the wake of online shopping. Convenience has outweighed community. More often than not, women-, BIPOC- and LGBTQA+-owned businesses have been disproportionately affected by “convenience.”

Of course, it makes sense with a global pandemic to shop online. Not Amazon, which currently serves Calgary, Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver, provides a viable alternative to its behemoth of an online retail counterpart.

That brings us to two compelling hospitality industry-specific platforms.

It’s not a secret that KRG Hospitality supports first-party and last-mile delivery. In fact, we’ve very clearly explained that operators lose guest data and control over the guest journey when they sign with a third-party delivery company.

That’s to say nothing of the fees third-party services charge their F&B “partners.” Is it convenient that DoorDash, UberEats, Postmates and other companies provide a semblance of infrastructure, the lure of reaching a larger pool of customers, and drivers (including the associated liability)? Sure.

But are the costs associated with doing business with a third-party delivery company worth it? Most likely not.

Studies have also shown that when a delivery goes wrong on the third-party’s end–cold food, for instance–it’s the restaurant that tends to get the blame.

There are two websites that, like Not Amazon, have popped up to put supporting local restaurants front and center: Not UberEats and NotGrubhub.

The former serves Toronto and operates as a non-profit, according to their FAQ page. The latter is mainly focused on the United States, offers the option to purchase gift cards, and is powered by Lunchbox. NotGubhub also boasts more than 100,000 direct ordering links.

Both operate in similar fashion: Restaurants submit their information to be added to the respective platforms, provide an ordering link, and obtain a listing. From there, people can search by location for restaurants in their area to place a delivery order.

In the case of NotUberEats, deliveries are fulfilled by Ritual or DoorDash. As noted on their FAQ page, Ritual is offering Toronto restaurants free delivery through 2021. Restaurants can also DoorDash because, as NotUberEats explains in their FAQs, the service is charging a flat rate and not collecting any commissions.

People can also send restaurant information to NotUberEats to help grow their listings. Anyone who wishes to do so is asked to provide at least 50 businesses in their city and submit them here.

Operators ready to make the move to first-party/direct delivery and own their guest journey should consider the following platforms:

With delivery here to stay, the sooner operators transition to direct delivery, the better. There’s no longer a reason to lose control of guests, a profitable operational element, or costs.

Image: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Delivery and Takeout Food Trends for 2021: United States

Delivery and Takeout Food Trends for 2021: United States

by David Klemt

Yesterday we reviewed food delivery data and 2021 food trend predictions for Canada. Now it’s the United States’ turn.

Before we jump into the data and predictions, a word on succeeding with delivery in 2021 and beyond.

As I pointed out yesterday, when an operator signs up with a third-party delivery service, their guest data becomes the delivery company’s data.

That means that company and not the restaurant or bar owns the guest journey and guest engagement, and therefore owns the guest for all intents and purposes.

When a restaurant, bar or other F&B business enters into a contract with a third-party delivery company—unless otherwise explicitly stated—they give up control of targeted marketing efforts. In other words, third-party delivery platforms disrupt the guest journey.

Delivery became a way for many businesses to generate revenue during 2020, for obvious reasons. Operators who can afford to implement first-part and last-mile delivery should do so to maximize their revenue and control the guest journey and marketing.

To help operators own delivery, we’ve reviewed end-of-year reports from three delivery titans—UberEats, Grubhub and DoorDash—to share their 2020 findings. When it comes to the most ordered items, cuisines and categories, some third-party platforms are willing to share data.

According to UberEats, comfort foods were the most popular category:

  • Burgers and fries
  • Burritos
  • Pad Thai
  • Mac and cheese
  • California rolls
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Miso soup
  • Mozzarella sticks

Per the platform, the following cuisines proved most popular:

  • American
  • Italian
  • Mexican
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Thai
  • Indian
  • French
  • Caribbean
  • Greek

As UberEats stated in their report, it appears that customers found a way to travel after all—they just did it through food.

Pizza, bagels, wings, tacos, burgers and dumplings led the way for Grubhub in 2020. The most popular pizza order was Hawaiian (because some people are monsters and put pineapple on their pies), while the most popular burger was garlic mushroom. Grubhub revealed that their top French fry was the loaded curly fry, and the most popular plant-based item was the eggplant burger.

In descending order, the top F&B Grubhub orders overall from 2020 were:

  • Spicy chicken sandwich
  • Chicken burrito bowl
  • Chicken wings
  • Waffle fries
  • Cold brew coffee
  • Steak quesadilla
  • Iced latte
  • Fish and chips
  • Strawberry shake
  • Roast beef sandwich

Per Grubhub, the top breakfast item was the acai bowl, the top side dish was French fries, the number-one late-night order was strawberry cheesecake, and the most ordered dessert was apple pie.

Moving on to DoorDash, the platform identified their top ten 2020 items back in November:

  • Chicken fingers and French fries
  • Fried chicken sandwich
  • Mac and cheese
  • Chips and guacamole
  • Apple pie
  • Pad Thai
  • Chicken quesadilla
  • Iced coffee
  • California roll
  • Chicken Tikka Masala

The UberEats, Grubhub and DoorDash revelations align with data collected by the National Restaurant Association between November and December of 2020. Per the NRA, the following were the top items sold by full-service casual, family and fine-dining restaurants:

  • Burgers
  • Seafood
  • Pizza
  • Steak
  • Chicken (excluding chicken wings)
  • Breakfast items
  • Pasta
  • Mexican food
  • Sandwiches, subs and wraps
  • Chicken wings

According to the NRA, the items below were the most popular for limited-service restaurants (fast casual, quick-service, coffee and snack):

  • Sandwiches, subs and wraps
  • Pizza
  • Burgers
  • Chicken (excluding chicken wings)
  • Ice cream, cookies and cakes
  • Baked goods
  • Breakfast items
  • Mexican food
  • BBQ items
  • Seafood

For 2021, DoorDash predicted the following items to see a lift:

  • Sausage, egg and cheese on a biscuit
  • Create your own omelettes
  • Carrot cake
  • Cinnamon roll
  • Caramel latte
  • Chocolate brownies
  • Black coffee
  • Donuts
  • Blueberry muffin
  • Biscuits

DoorDash revealed that Mexican, Chinese and Tex-Mex were the top cuisines ordered via the platform. The company also predicted five cuisines would be popular in 2021:

  • Taiwanese
  • French
  • Filipino
  • Australian
  • Moroccan

When it comes to 2021, multiple sources have named vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and health and wellness items as the foods to watch. Even this early into the year it’s not exactly a controversial statement to say that all of those categories are going to perform well in 2021.

According to DoorDash, nearly half of Americans (47 percent) plan to consume more plant-based items. Whether it’s truly healthier than its traditional counterparts, plant-based is perceived that way. In total, per DoorDash, 72 percent of Americans plan to make a concerted effort to eat healthier in 2021. This is likely due to an increased interest in boosting immune systems due to Covid-19.

Put another way, operators will likely struggle if they don’t add vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based foods to their streamlined menus, another trend expected to continue through 2021.

Predictions from the Specialty Food Association in particular caught our attention. For 2021, the association has predicted spices and herbs native to West Africa (Senegal, for example) will be in demand. Scandinavian and Cambodian flavors are also expected to perform well, as are Latin American and Southeast Asian items.

Due to interest in tahini sauce and black sesame, the SFA expects halva, which is a Middle Eastern confection, to get plenty of attention. The SFA and Datassential both named fermented honey as an item to watch in 2021.

Along with vegan and plant-based items, creative meal kits are expected to perform well. Restaurants and bars will continue to face restrictions and indoor dining bans over the course of at least the next few months. Creative meal kits will get the attention of customers who have grown tired of preparing the same meals over and over.

Whether an operator chooses to stick with their current menu or embrace one or more food trends, they should look into first-party or last-mile delivery. It’s imperative that operators own their guest journey and marketing efforts.

For more information about first-party and last-mile delivery, please listen to Bar Hacks episode 13 with “Rev” Ciancio, an advocate of keeping delivery and data in-house.

Image: Robert Anasch on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Delivery and Takeout Food Trends for 2021: Canada

Delivery and Takeout Food Trends for 2021: Canada

by David Klemt

Patrons, analysts and experts have spoken: delivery and takeout will remain standards in the new era of hospitality.

Analysts and experts have spoken with data, and consumers have spoken with their dollars.

But there’s another consequential voice that matters when it comes to delivery: that of the operator.

There’s no denying that the operator is shoved aside in the third-party delivery relationship. At the very least, that’s the overwhelming perception. Once an operator signs on with such a service, their guest data becomes the delivery company’s data.

Whatever company owns the data owns the guest, their journey and engagement, and the targeted marketing efforts. That means a restaurant or bar’s guests receive offers and promotions for their competitors.

In short, third-party delivery platforms disrupt the guest journey.

However, there are some data the third-party delivery services do share. As we saw midway through 2020, for example, Uber Eats and Grubhub released the top orders and other useful information in publicly available reports. Some of the services also release end-of-year or year-in-review reports, as SkipTheDishes did for Canada.

Most of these reports are laser-focused on the United States. That’s logical given the number of bars, restaurants and other hospitality businesses to which Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates, Instacart, Seamless and other services have access.

SkipTheDishes, for the Americans reading this, is the Grubhub of Canada. For the Canadians reading, below are SkipTheDishes’ data regarding top orders, cuisine, and demographics in 2020:

  • Top Cuisines: Chinese, Italian, American/Canadian
  • Top Orders (General): Asian dishes, pizza, burgers
  • Top Orders by Item: Chicken sandwiches (also the top item in 2020 in the US), burgers, and French fries (mid-year data)
  • Top Vegan Provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia
  • Top Organic Provinces: British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta
  • Top Gluten-free Provinces: Manitoba, Alberta, The Maritimes
  • Top Dairy-free Provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, The Maritimes
  • Top Kosher Provinces: Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan
  • Top Dayparts: 5:00 PM was the most popular order time, and late afternoon (3:00-4:00 PM) and weekdays saw lifts. Late-night ordering (9:00 PM and beyond) slowed. (Mid-year data.)
  • Top Pre-order Daypart: 5:00 PM. More Canadians got into the habit of pre-ordering their dinners. (Mid-year data.)
  • Fastest-growing Segment by Age Group: 65+
  • Most Revealing Datum: 81% of customers ordered from restaurants they’d never visited in person.

That was last year. What’s in store for Canada this year? A scan of a few sources—Food Network Canada, Restaurants Canada, and Chatelaine—offers some valuable insights.

Plant-based items and foods recognized for boosting a person’s immune system are expected to be popular. The pandemic has given many consumers a reason to reevaluate what they’re putting into their bodies. All three sources predict people will be interested in and order plant-based foods and focus on health and wellness.

Both Food Network Canada and Chatelaine predicted chickpeas—an inexpensive, versatile and plant-based protein source—will be among the top food items sought out by restaurant guests (in-person) and customers (takeout, delivery). Most operators should be able to adapt and get creative to add chickpea-based items to their menus. The two sources also predicted that snacking will replace meals (at least occasionally), so snackable items and sides may take off this year.

Food Network Canada pointed to sauerkraut as an example of a health and wellness food item that may see a boost in popularity and demand due to its probiotic and gut health properties. The source also predicted that coffee and coffee-based F&B items will get a lift in 2021.

Restaurants Canada predicted that comfort food, popular throughout 2020, will remain in high demand. However, 2021 will bring in an interest in elevated riffs on comfort food classics. Citing specific examples, Restaurants Canada suggested Pad Thai French fries and Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese. The Canadian food industry association predicted that interest in and support of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) cuisine, flavors and businesses will continue through 2021.

All three sources listed plant jerky as food item to watch in 2021.

What else should be in store for this year? Operators embracing first-party or so-called “last-mile” delivery to grab their share of the orders of this year’s trendy food items. Platforms such as Lunchbox, Olo, ChowNow can provide operators with the ability to own delivery and therefore the entire guest journey in the new era of hospitality. It’s likely an operator’s current POS can be updated to “unlock” in-house delivery, which would then need to be supported by a delivery menu, delivery supplies, and staff training.

For more information about first-party and last-mile delivery, please listen to Bar Hacks episode 13 with “Rev” Ciancio, an advocate of keeping delivery and data in-house.

Image: Norma Mortenson from Pexels

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