Should Your Business Offer Food Delivery?
Whether you should offer food delivery is an important business decision that should be based on your resources, venue type, and customer base. It’s also important to consider how the service will impact your brand.
Food-delivery services have sparked debate over whether they are predatory toward restaurants and about the safety of delivery workers, who often work without employer health insurance.
Retail food delivery
Retail food delivery is a courier service in which a restaurant or grocery store delivers food to a customer. The customer usually places the order through a website or app. The food is delivered in boxes or bags and is typically transported by a car. The driver may be an employee of the restaurant or store, or they can be an independent food-delivery company. Customers are often asked to tip the delivery person upon payment for their order.
Grocers are increasingly bringing their food delivery operations in-house. This is mainly because they want to control their brand and customer experience, and they don’t want to be dependent on third-party delivery services.
Grocery delivery services bring food and household items to your door, saving you a trip to the store. Many offer delivery in real time, while others are available at set times. You’ll want to consider your budget, shopping frequency, and diet preferences when choosing a service. Some accept SNAP/EBT and provide online coupons and bulk sizes.
Most major supermarket chains have their own delivery operations, as well as third-party outfits like Instacart and Shipt that use gig workers to assemble and deliver orders. Many also partner with delivery companies that offer a wider range of products, including meal kits and prepared foods.
In New York City, Fresh Direct and Peapod are the big players, with fleets of refrigerated trucks that can be seen idling curbside. Both offer a full selection of groceries, as well as booze and prepared meals, with delivery slots throughout the city. Instacart, a nationwide third-party service, offers delivery from New York grocers like Gristedes, D’Agostino, and Westside Market, with a fee structure that varies by area.
Meal delivery service
Meal delivery services deliver frozen or fresh, ready-to-eat meals to consumers. The meals are packaged in small containers, usually labeled with nutritional information. Some meal delivery services also offer specific diet options such as vegetarian or vegan. Many customers choose to tip their food delivery service after they pay for their order, although opinions on appropriate tips vary. SELF staffers have tried many of the leading prepared meal delivery services, and our meal kit shopping guide can help you find the right one for your lifestyle. Bloomberg Second Measure data shows that sales for these services reached pandemic peaks during the coronavirus epidemic, though they have since declined.
Grocery delivery services work with brick and mortar stores or their own grocery lines to deliver staples, like flour or milk, to customers at home. These services are similar to meal delivery services but operate under a different business model.