Operators must adapt to delivery, catering needs, study says

Canadian Pizza
July 19, 2018
By Canadian Pizza
Chicago – The restaurant industry is experiencing one of the biggest shifts in consumer behaviour since the drive-through, and operators must adapt their off-premise business strategy, says a new industry study.

In a new study published by CHD Expert in conjunction with Off-Premise Insights entitled "2018 Takeout, Delivery and Catering 5-Year Outlook for North America," the research team found that total off-premise restaurant sales will surpass $300 billion by 2023.

Emerging trends identified by the study include:
  • a shift from traditional advance order restaurant catering programs to on-demand fulfilment
  • implementation of flexible pricing models through delivery platforms, particularly as more consumers are expected to be receptive to peak pricing
  • greater importance of being technology-forward for restaurants in all segments
While direct and third-party delivery are expected to be the biggest drivers of this growth, both catering and traditional restaurant takeout sales will also see notable growth in the next few years, CHD Expert said in a news release.

What's important to customers
It's critical for operators competing using any or all of these platforms to meet customer needs, the company said. Three in five consumers indicated that food quality was most important to them for off-premise occasions followed by affordability, order accuracy, on time and speed of delivery. All of these areas also represent critical challenges that off-premise platforms pose to operators.

"Many restaurant concepts are evaluating their current footprint in an effort to accommodate increased off-premise orders," commented Gina Gapp, lead researcher for the study, citing that "restaurants are questioning the best approaches to achieve operational efficiency and taking a new look at everything from dynamic pricing to expansion of on-demand catering programs."

Use of third-party apps
The research found that nearly half of consumers have yet to try off-premise platforms like third-party delivery. About 60 per cent of consumers say they search for third-party delivery using only one app.

Catering on demand?
Half of consumers say they place catering occasions on impulse. While advance ordering is a hallmark of catering orders historically, movement towards rapid fulfilment catering will lead to the emergence of a larger on-demand market for immediate fulfilment of catering orders.

"2018 Takeout, Delivery and Catering 5-Year Outlook for North America" describes the size of the market along with a five-year forecast, consumer attitudes and behavioural data as well as insights and implications for the restaurant industry.

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