Daily Insights

Delivery Is Hot and Cold

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Feb 12, 2019

For many restaurants, delivery isn’t…well…delivering on its promises. Yet Taco Bell and freshly-minted Dunkin’ have decided to dive into the tactic, pairing up with delivery market leader Grubhub. Here’s why the brands should be wary.

Consumers are hungry and impatient—a demanding combination. Search trends show that queries for “restaurants near me” continue to grow, but searches for “food near me” now swallow them up, signaling an increased desire for food how and when they want it. As such, 16% of brands in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Restaurants introduced pickup in the past year, while 9% rolled out their own delivery service.

But giving the people what they want is easier said than done. Even industry leaders like McDonald’s and Starbucks have come across speed bumps such as dissatisfaction with returns on orders and long wait times to ensure piping hot beverages. For Dunkin’, which recently expressed interest in becoming a coffee go-to, keeping in mind the intricacies of hot beverage delivery will be key to success in the delivery market.

When brands take up arms with delivery services, they also lose control of the customer experience, but are still responsible for their reputation if orders turn up cold. That said, some brands have decided the risk is not worth the reward. For example, Domino’s, which continues to set the pace for digital excellence, opts for its own delivery service, complete with an app, tracker, and hotspots so customers can order pies no matter where they are. Most recently, the pizza purveyor permitted customers to scan pizza of any and every brand using the Domino’s app to gain points towards a free Domino’s pie—a testament to the label’s digital priorities.

For Taco Bell, digital assets play a large role too. The restaurant’s customers have proven themselves to be very vocal about their compliments and concerns on social platforms in particular, making the brand’s reputation that much more fragile upon joining in the delivery trend. Still, in today’s age of instant results and peak laziness, delivery is a must for restaurant brands. But how restaurants choose to roll out the tactic to their customers is a critical determinant of its success.