The Effect of the Increase in Delivery Demand on Restaurants: Supply and Demand Developments for Food Delivery
Foodservice delivery has clearly emerged as one of the main winners from the Covid-19 pandemic. Global delivery sales were up 30% in 2020, with even stronger growth in North America and Europe – in the US, delivery’s share of foodservice sales doubled to over 15%. Even as delivery takes a breather in 2021 as dine-in rebounds, we expect solid growth to resume in 2022/23, lifting delivery sales to 40%-80% above 2019 levels in most markets.
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While this unprecedented rise in delivery is unlikely to be largely incremental to overall foodservice sales, it will have huge implications for the profitability and competitive landscape of the foodservice industry. Limited-service and/or chain restaurants are in the best position to incorporate delivery in their business mix, while the shift of demand from other alternatives to delivery brings additional headwinds for those with low off-premise exposure – full service, family dining, fine dining, and independents. In response, foodservice operators will need to show tremendous strategic and operational agility to make optimal menu and operating changes, as well as in the decision on how to partner with third-party delivery platforms.
More importantly, these changes aren’t likely to be restricted to the front-end only. The rise of delivery will flow through the entire foodservice supply chain. With a more pronounced shift to off-premise and chained operators, many foodservice suppliers and distributors may lose leverage with their larger clients, food manufacturers may have to adjust their supply, and investments in technology and digitalization will need to accelerate at all levels.