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The Latest on Consumer Opinions about Delivery



In a recent survey, consumers shared their attitudes and perceptions of delivery. In some ways, it has shifted as more people utilize third-party delivery and off-premises in general, but a lot of pre-pandemic attitudes remain the same.

In a survey of more than 1,000 consumers by the Australian restaurant software developer Dragontail Systems, the company asked various questions about the overall delivery and off-premises experience.

The biggest takeaway: Consumers still fault the originating restaurant for a poor experience that began on a delivery app. Nearly 40 percent of respondents said they blamed the restaurant. Of the respondents, nearly half (46 percent) said they have had a bad delivery experience. Of those, 46 percent said the issue was an incomplete order and likely the fault of the restaurant; 39 percent said the issue was due to freshness and temperature and 45 percent said the order took too long. Other respondents said there were issues at the hand off (20 percent) and poor packaging (12 percent).

 

A new study of U.S. consumers shows an increased willingness to pay more to order delivered meals directly from restaurants versus third-party apps, possibly signaling heightened awareness of delivery economics in the eyes of the average consumer. 

Simon-Kucher & Partners and research firm Lucid surveyed 647 U.S. consumers during the month of April and found that, on the whole, consumers expect to pay almost $2 more for the convenience of ordering delivery directly from restaurants, compared to what they expected to pay for delivery via third-party apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub in the months following city- and statewide lockdowns.  

Prior to COVID-19, respondents said they expected to pay $4.73 for the convenience of delivery through third-party apps, which lines up with the common industry assumption that consumers have been generally willing to pay $5 for the convenience of delivery. 

While the survey showed consumers expected to pay $5.96 to order delivery from third-party apps in the months after lockdowns, that increased to $7.93 for the convenience of ordering directly through a restaurant’s own channels.  

The study’s findings aren’t iron-clad on why consumers feel that way, but the study’s authors surmised that variance could suggest consumers are now willing to pay more to order directly from restaurants in an effort to support the industry during a time of obvious need—a need which has garnered widespread media coverage during the pandemic. 

 

The delivery industry isn’t lacking for youthful energy and big ideas. MealMe, a new and still-evolving service from a pair of recent college grads, combines an aggregator function to help consumers price compare delivery options from local restaurants with the ability to make a reservation and share food pics—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The company’s co-founders hope to expand the offering to give at-home chefs the ability to sell their prepared meals through the app. 

Described as a “moonshot idea” that could revolutionize the food-delivery landscape, MealMe co-founder Matthew Bouchner acknowledged the many legal, logistical and regulatory challenges that currently prevent everyday people from turning their home kitchens into de facto ghost kitchens. Even so, he said that idea is “critical and foundational” to the future of the company, but one that will likely take a while to implement in various stages. 

“I don’t see MealMe as being just a food delivery price comparison app, MealMe Price Comparison is just the beginning,” Bouchner said, adding that he plans to be the top food delivery aggregator in a space that’s rapidly seeing new competitors emerge. “There’s at least one area where it’s already legal, and that’s in enabling people who already have food safety licenses to cook at a personal chef level at other peoples’ homes, and then on the other side of things, you can legally have friends over to your house and provide them a meal, and we can start by enabling groups of people who already share meals together to do that more easily.”

No word on whether dinner party guests would be required to tip their generous hosts, but he likened the idea to how Uber has enabled anyone to make extra money on the side. Timing isn’t certain, but he said he plans to start MealMe Chef sometime in 2021. 

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