Consumers Expect Quick Deliveries

On-demand food and merchandise orders, plus curbside pickup feed customers’ desire for speediness.

July 01, 2021

Last Mile Food Delivery Service

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Consumers are now used to having restaurant meals delivered directly to their door and are not so quick to give up that on-demand convenience, reports More than half of U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated, but even as consumers return to restaurants, digital sales are remaining strong for most foodservice operators.

A study by PYMNTS—The Bring-It-To-Me Economy: How Online Marketplaces and Aggregators Drive Omnichannel Commerce—finds that many of the on-demand ordering behaviors consumers picked up in the past 18 months are here to stay. The study found that two-thirds of consumers surveyed are now ordering restaurant meals to be eaten at home, and they are 31% more likely to order from restaurants for off-premises consumption than on-premises.

These behaviors are not limited to restaurant ordering. The study found that 72% of grocery shoppers surveyed now order their groceries online for delivery, and 28% order for curbside pickup. Plus, the lines between businesses delivering restaurant meals and those delivering groceries are blurring. Some eGrocery stores now deliver meals cooked in-house, while supermarket chains like Albertson’s are partnering with DoorDash.

“Consumers’ desire to get everything in their neighborhood on-demand has increased dramatically,” said Faud Hannon, head of new verticals at DoorDash. “Leveraging our extensive logistics network and Albertsons’ wide selection of fresh groceries, we are creating a one-stop-shop for customers to access any of the essentials they need, delivered to their doorstep within an hour.”

The desire for immediacy and convenience is growing across commerce categories, and food sellers are expected to fulfill orders not in days, but in hours (for grocers) or minutes (for restaurants).

“I think we’re going to see the same transition in food, convenience and grocery that brick-and-mortar retail saw in the last 20 years, but it’s going to require [a] very different set of platform[s] and infrastructures,” said Ken Chong, CEO of All Day Kitchens.

Many major food delivery services are branching out beyond food. DoorDash’s latest partnership with Beyond Meat to create grilling kits for Independence Day brings grilling tools, an apron and a bottle opener, among other items, right to consumers’ doors.

Food delivery platforms also have partnered with a range of non-food retailers to offer ultra-fast delivery. Two examples include Instacart’s partnerships with Michaels and The Container Store. The PYMNTS study was created in collaboration with Carat by Fiserv.

To learn more about the importance of last-mile services, check out “Covering the Last Mile” in NACS Magazine.

Not a NACS Magazine or NACS Daily subscriber? Subscribe to NACS Magazine in a print and/or digital format to read the latest insights from industry thought leaders each month. Subscribe to NACS Daily to receive a roundup of industry news and trends in your inbox each weekday. Subscriptions to NACS Magazine and NACS Daily are complimentary for readers in the convenience retailing industry—you just need to sign up!