By Jasper P Miller

As a kid, do you remember being overly excited about the sound of the ice cream truck calling to you from the street? Or when your parents were too lazy to bother cooking dinner so a dorky-dude would rock up to your door, with a delicious pepperoni pizza for the whole family to enjoy. Once upon a time, food delivery was pretty much restricted to pizza and ice cream and considered a ‘rare’ treat. Nowadays, food delivery and meal subscriptions are commonplace, with the majority of millennials ordering their favorite foods at the click of a button. The novelty of food delivery has certainly worn off. So where will things go from here? With tech-savvy millennials now at the forefront of food trendsetting, what’s next?

More Channels, More Options

According to US food delivery company Chanks stating that ‘…the percentage of online orders has nearly doubled in the last five years alone. And with 86% of consumers tapping into their food delivery app at least once a month, it’s up to the restaurant industry to not only keep up but stay ahead.’ With food delivery and meal subscriptions on the rise, the future looks lucrative for companies and entrepreneurs in the food space. It’s predicted that people will soon be able to order food via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, smartwatches, smart car’s, and also via virtual assistants. Shifting food delivery and meal subscriptions from basic phone and web applications to wider, more versatile platforms and channels, allows for greater consumer choice and satisfaction. Where does this leave restaurants and grocery chains? Will everyone be able to keep up with rising consumer demand across multiple platforms?

woman, people, coffee
nastya_gepp (CC0), Pixabay

Evolving Restaurants

If restaurant operators want to remain competitive, they are going to need to embrace technology and ensure how they run their business is in line with where the food delivery and meal subscription market is headed. There is evidence to suggest that restaurants that don’t embrace food delivery technology are missing out on a significant opportunity and an additional income stream. Booking.com, CMO, Pepijn Rijvers states, ‘There won’t be any business in 50 years that won’t be a software business. Businesses won’t be able to afford not to make data-driven decisions. Too many mistakes will be made.’ The data is clear, people want easier food options available, and restaurants need to get on board unless they want to be left behind.

Disruptive Grocery Stores

Perhaps in the future, we will see larger grocery chains becoming more competitive and making a greater impact on the food delivery and meal subscription arena. Grocery companies may endeavor to take food shopping to the next level, by selling ingredients alongside tasty recipes for consumers to enjoy, without the hassle of ever needing to enter a grocery store. It’s already evident that large grocery chains are rapidly evolving and embracing new technology; from AI to advanced transport and warehouse management systems to hydroponics and robotics, grocery stores are no longer what they used to be.

Global Head of Digital Consumer Research at Euromonitor, Michael Evans, states, ‘Retailers are going on the offense, using technology to entice customers to shop both online and in-store. Technology will be key to assisting retailers with creating new, meaningful ways for consumers to interact with their brand.” Shifts in the grocery store space will certainly disrupt established food delivery and meal subscriptions companies, like HelloFresh, BlueApron, UberEats, and Deliveroo who are currently dominating the market. Competition is healthy, so it will be interesting to see what will happen when the larger food corporations take on the little guys. Hopefully, they don’t eat them for breakfast.

The future of food seems to be based on convenience, individual choice, and ease. Gone are the days of food delivery novelty. We are now living in a world where technology is king, and instant gratification is expected. It’s essential that restaurants and food chains embrace the current trends and give people what they want when they want it.