Five reasons why restaurant delivery is here to stay, regardless of price.

Though experts are saying COVID-19 has become endemic, the days of the pandemic are long behind us. We may have left banana bread and Tiger King largely in the past, but another pillar of those long months remains strong: delivery.

According to USAToday, 80% of American adults have used some sort of delivery service in the past year. 40% have sprung for food delivery specifically. With inflation driving prices to an all-time high, it’s hard not to wonder… why?

The answer is complex and layered. As it turns out, there are many different factors that drive continued demand for restaurant delivery. Here are five of the big reasons why:

Food delivery is convenient.

This is perhaps the #1 factor in why people pay for food delivery. It’s just easier than cooking or going out, especially if we’re busy or tired. Over 65% of delivery customers have said “they didn’t mind spending more money to save time and effort.”

The value of convenience can be a significant asset when marketing your RDS. Paint a picture for your customers of what they gain—time—when they opt for delivery.

Habit-formation is a powerful force.

As early as March of 2021, restaurant delivery experts were speculating that our COVID-era fondness for delivery would soon become a habit. And that sentiment appears to remain strong. Deidre Popovich, an associate professor of marketing at Texas Tech University, told USAToday, “Once people get used to having food delivered to them, it becomes more of a habit.”

We can’t resist a good deal.

Plenty of people manage to kick the delivery habit—and then get drawn back in by a coupon or a good deal. The siren song of free delivery or $10 off can sway even the most resolute among us. And the Big 3 restaurant delivery services have found ways to leverage this. DoorDash’s DashPass and Uber Eats’ Eats Pass offer free delivery and other perks for a low monthly fee. These small incentives encourage customers to spend more over time because it feels like a better deal.

A comparable membership service may not make sense for your RDS. And you don’t want to offer so many discounts that you sacrifice profitability. (Plenty of RDSs have struggled with this.) But offering the occasional deal or savings can bring in good business. Talk to your restaurant partners and see if they’d be interested. A great offer from a local favorite can be irresistible! 

Variety is the spice of life.

Restaurant delivery can be the best way for some people to try new foods. One woman told USAToday, “I live in a food desert. The closest place to order food is, like, Sonic. It’s cheaper to drive to Sonic than to use the app, but other places across town, it’s cheaper to use the app.” For people who may otherwise struggle to enjoy a little variety, food delivery can open a lot of doors for them.

You can keep this in mind when developing a strategy for restaurant partnerships. Make sure you’re offering lots of variety, in terms of both cuisine and location. And let your customers know you’ll deliver across town. Many people will pay top dollar for the thrill of a new culinary experience!

Remote workers are here to stay.

Almost a third of the workplace is remote these days. Lots of those people used to work in urban centers with countless fun and exciting lunch options. And while plenty are happy to simply cook at home, some people miss the daily delight of a great meal out. Delivery is an excellent way for them to maintain that tradition. Additionally, some remote workers prefer delivery because it allows them to stay more focused and minimize mealtime disruption. Regardless of motive, remote workers are major players in the continued, post-COVID demand for restaurant delivery.

All of this spells good news for your RDS. In short, while inflation can certainly be a disruptor, demand remains extremely high for restaurant delivery. With smart marketing and strategic restaurant partnerships, you can attract plenty of delivery orders and keep your RDS strong.

Don’t forget to leverage technology to your advantage. Excellent food delivery software, like DataDreamers, can streamline the delivery experience for both you and your customers. And with straightforward pricing, you can navigate inflation and other uncertainties without worrying about a surprise charge.

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