While that Tuscan Chicken and Goat Cheese Panini you just had for lunch doesn’t seem very technologically advanced, the app that enabled you to order it definitely is. The on-demand food economy is still in its relative infancy, and is not immune from its share of missteps, but it is advancing at an exponential pace–recently valued at an estimated $13.5 billion. This rapid growth and success is even making brands from unrelated industries stop and take notice in an attempt to try and uncover their “secret sauce.”
In the past when you thought of food delivery it was usually a high school student in a beat up Corolla, who had to be there in 30-minutes or else it was free. Although some people may still be calling in for their food, the vast majority of food ordering in major-cities now takes place over mobile. Between May 2009 and May 2010 there were 1.4 billion food orders placed by phone (via calling) in the US, compared with only about 400 million placed online. However, in May of last year, those numbers showed online ordering trending to surpass phone ordering with phone ordering at 1 billion and online at 900 million.
With a multitude of different options to choose from–door delivery vs. pick up, bike vs. car, from a restaurant vs. made in house– food delivery apps have developed features (GPS tracking, payment solutions, logistics) that are helping move the on-demand industry forward.
For apps like Ritual, UberEATS, foodora, and GrubHub, and others in the market, their survival is based driving awareness, increasing partnerships, and most importantly growing their user base and maintaining users over time. With the average app only retaining 23% of its daily active users after the third day, and the rising competition in the market, it is no wonder why these apps have had to stay on the bleeding edge of technology to avoid getting lost in the clutter. And for other brands, that means that it is imperative for them to keep their finger on the pulse of the on demand meal delivery industry, and use it for more than just food for thought.