SCOTT ABSHER — Hospitality Technology, March 5, 2020 |
According to a new survey from Zion & Zion, consumers who use delivery apps, like Grubhub and Uber Eats, experience problems with their food or delivery nearly a quarter of the time. In part, these prevailing customer issues are the result of third-party delivery services relying on independent contractors, and not direct employees of the restaurant itself.
As third-party delivery grows, consumers will continue to experience problems with their orders and restaurants will bear the brunt of their frustrations. However, restaurant operators can avoid these third-party pitfalls by instead deploying their own workforce to facilitate last-mile delivery.
Where the Problem Lies
The country is in the midst of a labor shortage and in particular, restaurants are having difficulty finding and keeping employees. Rather than raising wages and offering their workforce other perks to aid in hiring and retention, operators are opting to enlist the help of third-party delivery platforms that allow them to meet consumer demand with greater ease. However, the core problem these services introduce is that the drivers aren’t direct employees of the restaurant. This means they likely haven’t had extensive training in food delivery or customer service, aren’t uniformed to help maintain the restaurant’s hard-earned brand image and don’t have the necessary equipment, like insulated delivery bags, to preserve the proper temperature of the food.
As a result, customers are experiencing more problems with their deliveries. The Zion & Zion survey found that consumers are more likely to receive their food at the wrong temperature and to have their delivery arrive unacceptably late than they are when they order directly from the restaurant. Even worse, stories are emerging of third-party drivers never delivering the food in a scheme to keep it for themselves, or they’re munching on the product before bringing it to the intended customer. A survey conducted by US Foods found that nearly 30 percent of third-party drivers are snacking on the food they’re responsible for delivering.
Who’s to Blame in the Delivery Game?
These problems lead to significant aggravation for consumers, with nearly 50 percent saying they are “very frustrated” when something goes wrong with their delivery. However, the third-party driver and the platform he or she works with doesn’t bear the entire brunt of the consumer’s dissatisfaction – they split it with the restaurant.
Sixty-two percent of consumers who receive a bad food delivery experience often blame both the restaurant and the delivery company. Prominent third-party delivery companies like Uber Eats and Grubhub, who partner with thousands of restaurant operators across the country and have managed to get consumers accustomed (or even addicted) to the premise of on-demand convenience, likely won’t feel the strong impact on their sales. However, the restaurants themselves, who already operate on slim profit margins and in turn, can’t afford to lose loyal customers at the hands of a third-party delivery service, certainly will.
The Solution: Enter Native Delivery
For restaurants, the convenience of working with third-party delivery platforms can’t be denied, but the negative experiences that their customers receive in turn is too damaging to make the partnership worth it. To avoid these types of delivery dilemmas, restaurant operators should deploy native delivery.
That being said, there are of course challenges related to compliance, scheduling and retention that plague operators and prevent them from hiring their own delivery workforce. But, in an era where technology seems to solve all of our daily hurdles, why shouldn’t restaurants use it to navigate the delivery landscape? Today, restaurant operators should explore platforms that hire their workforce away from them, then lease them back to the restaurant itself. With AI-driven capabilities that enable employees to pick and choose shifts, and with compliance handled on behalf of the staffing agency, restaurant operators can enjoy a best-of-both world’s scenario that allows them to have a uniformed workforce ready to facilitate last mile delivery, without the trials and tribulations of direct employment.
With all of the hype around third-party delivery and consumers’ heightened affinity for on-demand convenience, many restaurants are feeling obligated to partner with one, and oftentimes two or three, delivery platforms. But as these services grow while simultaneously forcing disdain amongst consumers towards the restaurants, it’s clear that operators need a new delivery solution. By leveraging new technology and directly employing their delivery workforce, restaurants will regain control of their delivery operations, and see tremendous impact on their brands – and pockets – in return.