New SMG report helps restaurant brands identify third-party delivery trends, demographics and the service providers leading the way

Apr 17, 2019 by Paul Arnhold

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Service Management Group (SMG), a global customer experience management, employee experience and brand research partner to more than 500 brands, has published a new report about the evolution of third-party delivery: Sharpen your strategy to win at third-party delivery. Following its initial report—4 things every restaurant needs to know about third-party delivery—SMG has closely monitored the trend and the impact third-party delivery is having across the restaurant industry.

Using SurveyMini®—SMG’s location-based consumer research app and the fastest, most accurate source of behavioral data linked to customer feedback in real time—SMG launched the longitudinal study in late 2017 and collected consumer feedback at the onset of the study and again in early 2019. With data from more than 20,000 respondents, SMG answered three big questions about the evolution of third-party delivery:

  1. What’s the state of the third-party delivery industry?

    Since 2017, third-party delivery awareness, usage and frequency have increased across the board. Awareness has seen the largest increase—at 15 percent—but the biggest surprise in this study is the 27-percent increase in fast food delivery, which is growing 3–5 times faster than the fast casual and casual dining segments. With customers willing to pay more for convenience, fast casual and casual dining brands will need to be creative to remain competitive.


  2. Who’s using third-party delivery and why?

    As expected, millennials had the highest trial and usage rates, but the data also revealed third-party delivery customers are willing to try multiple convenient food ordering options, and they do it a lot more often than customers who don’t use third-party delivery. What hasn’t changed is the motivator. Convenience remains the top driver for third-party delivery customers, with users citing inability to travel, preferring not to cook and ease of ordering as the top reasons for using delivery services.


  3. Which providers are winning and losing?

    In 2017, the data showed UberEats was the preferred third-party delivery provider, but DoorDash has quickly made up ground in the past year. Though UberEats remains at the top with 31 percent of market share—down from 45 percent in 2017—DoorDash has increased its market share from three to 29 percent after capitalizing on innovative partnerships and a new subscription service.

“With the continued growth of third-party delivery and usage spreading across the restaurant industry, it’s increasingly important that brands have a cohesive customer experience and case management strategy in place,” said Shad Foos, SMG Chief Marketing Officer. “While each touchpoint impacts the customer experience, delivery is most likely to make or break the experience.”

To learn more about the evolution of third-party delivery and its impact on the restaurant industry, download the report from the SMG Resource Center.


About Service Management Group

SMG inspires experiences that improve people’s lives. We are a catalyst for change, providing actionable customer, patient, and employee insights that boost loyalty and drive business outcomes. Our unique model puts a dual focus on platform technology and professional services—making it easier to collect, analyze, and share feedback and behavioral data across the enterprise. To learn more about our customer experience management, employee experience, and brand research solutions, visit