retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Two days after the Wall Street Journal ran story about how restaurants have seen a big decline in lunchtime transactions as people choose to eat at their desks as a way of saving time and money, it comes back with a story about how "restaurants are no longer treating lunchtime delivery as an afterthought. With online-ordering apps proliferating and many customers cutting down on eating out for lunch, the industry - from fast-food chains to upscale restaurateurs - is looking for ways to bring food to patrons without compromising their eating experience."

In other words, delivery.

The trend is being taken up by fast food chains, fast-casual chains, and even upscale restaurants that are identifying different ways of getting food to a variety of workplaces.

According to the Journal, "Delivery only accounts for 3% of restaurant purchases nationwide, but it is growing fast. Non-pizza delivery purchases have risen by 30% in the past four years, according to market-research firm NPD Group Inc.

"GrubHub Inc., one of many apps that have helped improve the online-ordering and payment process, said it has more than 10,000 delivery drivers, from just a few hundred less than two years ago. Its number of active diners, which it defines as those who have placed at least one order in the past 12 months, grew 26% to 8.75 million in the first quarter from a year earlier."
KC's View:
There are lots of different ways to slice this particular loaf of bread - some companies are using outside delivery services, and some restaurants are building to-go only facilities that are designed to take advantage of this trend. I have to wonder if we'll also see more restaurants developing food trucks that can specifically cater to these consumer needs.

I also think that many supermarkets should engage with this trend - at least of they want to grow their share of stomach.

I thought it was interesting that one expert looks at this trend and sees nothing but momentum, especially as driverless cars and drone technology become more common; the prediction is that at some point, we'll all be able to order a sandwich and a drink from Amazon via our Echo/Alexa systems, and it'll be delivered shortly via drone ... probably in a box with a shipping label that doubles as a parachute.