Image courtesy of UberEats
One of the top priorities for foodservice establishments in recent years has been to address consumer demand for convenience. A big part of that focus is on delivery, specifically on making delivery and ordering easier through websites or apps.

According to leading global information company NPD Group, delivery accounts for 1.7 billion foodservice visits annually. Delivery has become a primary source of meals and snacks for many consumers.

In fact, one-fourth of all U.S. consumers claim to have ordered a meal via delivery in the past three months, NPD finds. Young adults are the largest segment of foodservice delivery users, representing 56 percent of delivery orders.

Panera Bread said it expects to add more than 10,000 in-cafe and delivery driver jobs system-wide as it expands delivery service to roughly 40 percent of its bakery cafes by year end. At the beginning of the year, delivery service was available in about 15 percent of the company’s more than 2,000 locations.

“Panera is doing for delivery what we did for quick-service — creating an elevated guest experience end-to-end,” says Ron Shaich, Panera founder, chairman, and chief executive officer. “In many places across the country, all that’s available for delivery is pizza or Chinese food. We’re closing the gap in delivery alternatives and creating a way for people to have more options for real food delivered to their homes and workplaces.”

To enhance Panera Delivery, the chain is introducing a new order tracking system with Bringg technology that allows customers to follow a delivery’s progress on a map, see an expected arrival time, and receive a notification when the driver is arriving. Additionally, Panera Bread is hiring its own drivers in company-owned and franchised markets across the country to offer a more traditional delivery experience, the company reports.

The fastest growing method of delivery ordering is through website, app, or text. Digital orders increased from 22 percent or 637 million of all delivery visits in 2011 to 48 percent or 2 billion visits in 2016.

“Delivery epitomizes convenience, which is the value of using foodservice in the first place,” says Warren Solochek, president of NPD’s Foodservice Practice. “If delivery fits a foodservice operator’s business model and it’s operationally feasible, they definitely need to add it on as an option in order to stay competitive.”

How Your Customers Use Delivery

  • 29 percent of Millennials ordered restaurant food/beverages via delivery in the last week.
  • 50 percent of Boomers and older use delivery less than once a month.
  • Young adults are the most satisfied with delivery service, with 93 percent of Gen Z and 87 percent of Millennials very satisfied or satisfied.