Insights & Trends

The evolution of delivery in casual dining: insights from industry leaders

October 2023

The food industry is evolving, especially with the rise of delivery services. In a recent panel discussion, at Casual Dining hosted by Peter Backman from theDelivery.World, experts shared their insights on casual dining delivery. This conversation explored the challenges and opportunities in the food delivery world. Let’s dive into the key takeaways from this discussion. 

The panel featured three prominent members, each with their unique experiences and insights:  

Gemma Barter: A digital marketing manager at Honest Burgers Ltd, a well-known casual dining chain. She collaborates closely with Uber Eats and manages its delivery marketing 

Gianluca D’Angelo: Gianluca is the CEO of Thrive Alts and the CEO and co-founder of Zia Lucia Pizza. His experience in the delivery business dates to 2016 when he launched Zia Lucia 

Natty Crutchfield: Natty holds the title of CEO at Natty’s Jerk Chicken. His journey into the world of food delivery commenced just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic 

Adapting to the New Normal  

Peter Backman initiated the discussion by highlighting the significance of delivery services in the modern restaurant industry. He prompted the panellists to share their journeys into the realm of food delivery and how it has shaped their businesses.  

In 2016, Gianluca of Zia Lucia took a chance on delivery, despite concerns about quality and brand impact. He sensed its future potential, but worried about the differences from in-house dining and its impact on reputation. 

Gemma from Honest Burgers revealed the initial hesitation about delivery. After testing and ensuring it didn’t compromise its quality, delivery now makes up 25% of its total sales, showcasing the success of its strategy. 

Natty’s Jerk Chicken, born just before COVID-19, faced challenges. Initially operating from home via WhatsApp and Instagram, Natty shifted to Uber Eats, now comprising 25% of his orders. 

A Changing Landscape: The Last 18 Months 

The panellists also discussed the dynamic shifts in the food industry over the last 18 months. Here are some key insights that emerged from their discussion:  

  • Seasonality and supply chain optimisation: The evolving seasons and changing consumer preferences have placed pressure on optimising the supply chain 
  • Rising costs and the need for discipline: Escalating costs within the industry are pushing operators to adopt more disciplined approaches in their operations 
  • Growing markets and increased competition: The market continues to expand, attracting more competitors, thereby intensifying the competition 
  • Ever-evolving delivery applications: Delivery applications are constantly evolving, which necessitates businesses to stay updated with changing algorithms and evolving consumer preferences 
  • Continuous growth in food delivery: The food delivery service and associated applications continue to witness significant growth, reflecting the changing consumer habits and the increasing demand for convenience 
  • Expanding delivery beyond cities: Delivery is no longer confined to urban areas; it’s expanding into previously untapped markets, reaching consumers in suburban and rural locations 

The panel discussion provided valuable insights into the evolving landscape of delivery in the casual dining sector.  

They concluded with their top tips when considering delivery: 

  • Making sure your kitchen and your staff can handle the deliveries coming in 
  • Keep delivery on, otherwise delivery apps will not show you to consumers often 
  • Testing when launching new products to be sent out through delivery, including packaging 

The panel discussion shed light on the changing landscape of delivery in casual dining. Businesses adapting to consumer demands shared strategies for success. Staying informed and open to change is vital for sustained success. The journey of food delivery is just starting, promising an exciting yet challenging road ahead for all stakeholders.