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Third-party delivery evolution: Can your CX strategy keep up?

Michele Vance | Apr 12, 2019 Michele Vance 04/12/19

Third-party delivery has been a huge disruption to the restaurant industry. It was just over a year ago that we published our report, 4 things every restaurant needs to know about third-party delivery, and we’ve continued to keep a close watch over the trend.

At this month’s Restaurant Leadership Conference, I had the opportunity to present our most recent findings. We again turned to SurveyMini®—SMG’s location-based consumer research app and the fastest, most accurate source of behavioral data linked to customer feedback in real time—and found some pretty incredible things from the past year. With data from more than 20,000 respondents, we were able to answer:

  1. What’s the state of the third-party delivery industry?
  2. Who’s using third-party delivery and why?
  3. Who’s winning in the space?

Here are some of our key takeaways:


Fast food is gaining on fast casual + casual dining

Since 2017, third-party delivery awareness, usage, and frequency has increased across the board. But what’s most interesting is the traction QSR is gaining—fast food is growing 3–5X faster than fast casual and casual dining.

fast food orders in third party delivery blog_01

With QSR making such rapid headway, it may not be long before the category catches up. Fast casual and casual dining need to be creative about remaining competitive, particularly when it comes to price point. With customers willing to spend a delivery fee for a Whopper instead of heading to the drive-thru, it’s clear customers are up for paying a little more for convenience.


Issues with Taste are less frequent—but Accuracy + Time are still a problem

Our data also shows a 14% decrease in customer issues with Freshness/Temperature of Food. As third-party delivery users get more acclimated to the process, expectations seem to adjusting. Customers are realizing that delivered food is probably not going to be as hot as it would be if they were dining in at the restaurant, so they’re exhibiting a more forgiving behavior in that regard.

However, Accuracy of Order and Time to Receive are still the primary problems cited by customers—and they’re reporting them often. Both of these issues saw a significant increase in 2018. Wrong orders and missing items, along with slow delivery times, are having the biggest impact on customer satisfaction and prove to be the biggest areas of opportunity.

problems with accuracy + timing blog_02


Users try multiple convenient food options

Food delivery isn’t just affecting the restaurant industry—its impact is being felt across the food and beverage industry as a whole. Users of third-party delivery are adventurous customers who are willing to try multiple convenient food-ordering options—and they’re doing that a lot more often than those who don’t use third-party delivery.

third party delivery customers want convenience blog_03

These customers continue to put convenience at the top of their priority list—citing Unable to Travel, Prefer Not to Cook, and Ease of Ordering as their top reasons for using food delivery.


DoorDash is dashing to the top

In 2017, our data showed respondents prefer Uber Eats as their third-party delivery provider—but DoorDash is bringing the heat. Though Uber Eats is still the most preferred at 31%, DoorDash gained the most ground by jumping from 3% to 29%.

door dash gaining on uber eats blog_04

DoorDash dominates the West and Midwest regions of the U.S. and is growing at a rapid rate. With innovative partnerships and a new subscription service, it appears DoorDash is on the move with no signs of slowing down.


Dig in to more

This is just a bit of what we uncovered. Be sure to download the presentation for a more thorough look, and stay tuned for an upcoming post where we’ll answer:

  • How does third-party delivery affect future purchase behavior?
  • How is it affecting your brand reputation?

Michele Vance | Chief Sales Officer