Integration is key to managing the food delivery culture boom

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Integration is key to managing the food delivery culture boom
Australia has a very sophisticated food industry.
Photo by Rowan Freeman on Unsplash

The COVID pandemic and consequent moves in and out of lockdown have fundamentally changed life as we know it – particularly when it comes to how people eat and drink.

Restaurants and hospitality venues have had to master the pivot to participate in the new platform-to-consumer  food delivery culture, the demand for which continues to reach new heights, and technology has been a key part of that.

There are currently about 65,000 restaurant locations doing food delivery across the country and according to Finder, over 7,000 food orders are made every hour in Australia. We spend more than $1,500 a year on food deliveries – a figure we expect to  continue to increase well beyond the pandemic. Most restaurants have adapted during the pandemic to cater to existing patrons as well as finding ways to reach new clientele, however, doing so has raised new complexities that come from managing online sales channels and dealing with numerous delivery partners. For family-owned restaurants, large chains and FMCG brands, the priority is always to ensure patrons receive the best quality food in the quickest amount of time. They’re eager to ensure an operational flow that minimises hiccups that affect customer experience and need a simplified way to manage and grow online orders with ease.

For restaurants and other businesses that offer delivery, it’s more important than ever to implement a successful delivery strategy with a point-of-sale integration that will enable them to meet consumer expectations and stand out from competitors. Importantly, doing so will also eliminate common issues businesses face when trying to manage online food ordering. Some of those include having to manually punch in orders (time consuming and sometimes making errors), dealing with multiple online ordering platforms (often buried in dozens of tablets), managing menus across different online ordering platforms (another time intensive activity), stock not being synced with online channels (so customers can order ‘out of stock items’), a lack of real-time sales data and visibility of what's been sold online and having the ‘front of house’ crowded with delivery drivers.

New subscription-based SaaS solution technologies can  dramatically reduce staff workload and the probability of errors. These technologies integrate directly with point-of-sale systems, automating the inbound online order flow through a single point and eliminating the need for staff to monitor multiple devices and manually re-enter orders into their existing system. When a delivery or takeout order comes in from an Uber Eats, Doordash, Menulog or Deliveroo, these platforms intercept the order, process it, then transfer it straight to the kitchen.

One such platform, Deliverect, processes 1.5 million orders each week globally (a significant proportion of those from Australia), supporting 100+ integrations with major POS and delivery partners, with hundreds of others in the pipeline. This includes 1,500 Australian food service locations.

Importantly, tech ‘in the kitchen’ is also facilitating an important evolution for the food industry. We are increasingly seeing eateries diversifying and creating virtual brands that extend their offering to capture new corners of the market. This is a trend we expect to see more of, so having a tech stack that supports that desire to expand and evolve in new directions via a centralised approach that makes it easier to add new brands, sell online and connect to delivery partners, is another important way we’re supporting hospitality industry growth.

And it seems eateries will need to continue to adapt their operations to the changing customer landscape. While it is hard to imagine, there will be a point soon enough when we can return to dine-in meals, yet convenient delivery services are expected to remain in high demand long after lockdown. This will force restaurants to think about how the two aspects of their business can co-exist, so they can provide both a high quality, ambient dine-in experience without delivery drivers disrupting the diners’ experience while still catering to the high-volume of delivery orders from virtual stores.

Compared with other markets, Australia has a very sophisticated food industry, particularly when we look at the uptake of QR code menus and ordering in restaurants. We expect the convenience and efficiency of online food ordering means consumer demand will continue to flourish and technology will be the partner that helps the food service industry continue to connect, innovate and evolve.

Jeremy Van Dille is General Manager, Deliverect ANZ

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