The fantastic growth reported in the delivered food market by high profile companies such as Uber Eats, Just Eat, Deliveroo and others all concentrates on their ability to deliver high street brands direct to your door.
But how long before this market becomes saturated, and the delivery platforms look to other areas for growth?
Some of the more entrepreneurial and forward-thinking caterers are waking up to the possibilities that food delivery can bring and they are stealing a march over their more traditional competitors who hitherto only work from – and within – fixed catering facilities.
In the age of hot desking and home working why should an employer wish to tie up valuable office space and capital in providing a fixed staff restaurant? If the workforce are happy to order food at home, why shouldn’t they be able to do the same at their desk? Why shouldn’t they have the opportunity to order the brands that they want, when they want – rather than those “me-too high street offers” imposed on them by traditional contract caterers?
Here in the UK, Starbucks is already partnering with UberEats to test the viability of deliveries in Central London. If, as expected, this is successful you can be sure that others will follow.
These arguments also hold true for universities and colleges. In the US, a new partnership between food services group Sodexo and autonomous delivery company Starship Technologies means students can order via an app and receive pizza, coffee and doughnuts via robot delivery.
An increasing number of sports stadia and events venues offer apps that allow you to order and pay for your food and drink. Most of these are currently “click and collect” arrangements, but it can only be a matter of time before you will get deliveries direct to your seat.
Other potential markets include hospitals and care homes, where patients and residents already disliking the poor quality of the on-site catering provision should be able to order-in the food that they want – and when they want it. In the care provision, this could well be the answer to the gap left by the closure of the increasingly uneconomic “meals on wheels” services.
Following a recent flight with BA, one of the questions in the subsequent survey asked if I would like the option to pre-order food of my choice and/or have it delivered to the aircraft or the lounge. Not only would this save the airline the hassle of in-flight catering, but the seemingly standard choice of “beef or chicken” would be a thing of the past!
If you would like to hear more from Andrew on how Catering Companies are innovating in the age of food delivery, visit us at the Food on the Move Conference, March 27th at the Barbican Centre in London. Joins us as Andrew welcomes leading Catering Companies to discuss their innovative responses and future plans for the world of delivery. Come and see Cloud Kitchens at work!