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Blog | Industry News and Trends

What We Learned About Third-Party Delivery at International Pizza Expo 2018

We got the full scoop from International Pizza Expo on the pros and cons of third-party delivery services.

Third-party delivery was THE hot topic at the 2018 International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas.

Pizza restaurateurs from all over the U.S. wanted to know — what are the benefits of using services like GrubHub, UberEats, DoorDash and countless others? What are the pitfalls? How can pizza businesses take advantage of these new opportunities?

If you weren’t able to attend, don’t worry! The HotSchedules team was on the scene and we’ve got you covered. Don’t we always?

Here are our biggest takeaways from International Pizza Expo 2018:

Third-Party Delivery is Here to Stay

Our biggest takeaway is that pizza restaurateurs are going to need to start making some decisions about whether to get in on the third-party action because these services aren’t going away. Delivery transactions made up roughly 7% of total U.S. restaurant sales in 2016, and that number could eventually get as high 40%, according to research from Morgan Stanley.

And during a particularly enlightening Pizza Expo panel, “Solving the Third-Party Delivery Puzzle”, we learned that some restaurants are seeing as much as 25-30% of their revenue come from these services.

Exploring the Benefits of Third-Party Delivery

There are definitely benefits to using third-party delivery services. Rick Drury, a Pizza Expo panelist and owner of Precinct Pizza in Tampa, Florida, has explored these benefits in PMQ Pizza Magazine. Here are a few of the benefits we heard about:

  • Delivery services can bring in new customers. For instance, operators can use one of these third-party services to receive orders and then use their in-house delivery drivers.
  • Operators can attach their marketing materials or menus to orders through third-party services, so customers will come back to them directly for their next order, instead of coming back through a third-party service.
  • Third-party services also offer an opportunity to expand your delivery area. If your in-house driver only delivers within a 10-mile radius, UberEats could expand that area to 15 miles.

Restaurant Operators are Worried About Quality Control

While third-party delivery services may be increasingly popular for consumers, many restaurateurs have big concerns over quality control using these apps. Here’s what we learned:

  • Once a restaurant hands an order off to a third-party service, they have no control over when it arrives or what condition the food is in.
  • Operators also worry about the level of professionalism with third-party drivers. In-house drivers have been trained and are trusted.
  • Many third-party drivers don’t have methods of keeping the food hot.
  • If orders show up cold or late, customers typically blame the restaurant, not the delivery service, resulting in bad reviews online or lost business.
  • Managers also need to consider the right staffing levels to meet this demand. If you have an influx of orders but not enough employees to fulfill them, your customers aren’t going to be happy.

As always, the HotSchedules team had a fantastic time at International Pizza Expo and learned a ton about the trends and issues affecting the restaurant industry and our customers. We can’t wait for next year!

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