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The rise of Delivery by Zuplyit

The rise of Delivery

The Story of Food Delivery: Origins to Obstacles

In recent years, the popularity of food delivery services has skyrocketed, transforming the way people approach the gastronomical experience of a restaurant. Whether in the heart of bustling city centers or the quiet corners of suburban tranquility,  the convenience of having restaurant-quality meals delivered directly to our doorsteps has become an integral part of modern living. Remarkably, the food delivery services sector is estimated to reach a staggering market volume of US$1.65 trillion by 2027.

But how did we reach this pivotal moment? What sparked the initial flame, and how has it truly affected the traditional restaurant industry? This article delves into the practicalities behind the rise of food delivery, examining its historical origins and the tangible ways it has reshaped our dining habits.

The Birth of Delivery

While the surge in delivery services peaked in the late 2010s, particularly flourishing during the pandemic, the origins of restaurant-to-home delivery can be traced back much further than commonly thought. The first recorded instance of this convenient dining experience dates back to 1889 in Naples, Italy. 

Historians unravel a captivating tale involving King Humberto and Queen Margherita, who demanded Faraele Esposito complete a unique task – the delivery of a pizza pie from the famed Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Cosi. Responding to the royal call, Esposito not only introduced the concept of food delivery but also immortalized the Margherita pizza with a name that would echo through the ages.

Following this initial venture into food delivery, progress was gradual, marked by modest advancements across the globe. Around 1890, India pioneered the dabbawala meal delivery system, specifically in bustling metropolitan areas like Mumbai, where meals were seamlessly delivered directly to workplaces. In 1922, on the culinary landscape of Los Angeles, Kin-Chu cafe emerged, boldly asserting itself as “the only place on the West Coast making and delivering real Chinese dishes.” Notably, Kin-Chu earned the distinction of being the first restaurant in the United States to offer such a service, marking the beginning of Chinese food delivery. However, despite its pioneering efforts, Kin-Chu found itself ahead of its time and with the onset of the Great Depression, food deliveries vanished, leaving the novel concept in the shadows.

In the 1950s, a significant turning point emerged in the trajectory of food delivery, particularly in the modernized landscape of the United States. Following the aftermath of the war, a palpable shift occurred as people transitioned from city life to the tranquility of suburban dwellings. This migration, coupled with the newfound comforts of suburban living, presented a challenge for restaurants as customers were no longer within walking distance.

In response to the evolving lifestyle and the increasing prevalence of television as a staple appliance, families opted to stay home rather than dining out. This cultural shift created a ripe environment for the ascent of pizza, a rising star fueled by a timely endorsement from The Times.

In a pivotal moment, The Times claimed that pizza, renowned in Southern Italy, was the ideal food for takeout or delivery. The publication asserted, “The pizza could be as popular a snack as the hamburger if Americans only knew more about it.” By the 1950s, pizza had indeed caught on, though fashionably late. This era saw a surge in pizzerias offering takeout and delivery services, further solidifying the popularity of these convenient dining options.

In the vibrant city of Los Angeles, Casa D’Amore engraved its name into history by becoming widely recognized as the first pizza establishment to offer free delivery on any order exceeding $2.50. In this regard, LA showcased its pioneering spirit, positioning itself ahead of the delivery curve in the emerging landscape of food delivery.

The Internet's Role

Fast forwarding to the 1990s, the onset of the internet era brought about a profound revolution, not just within the industry but for the whole world. Pizza Hut did something pretty groundbreaking by launching PizzaNet, one of the earliest websites. This meant people could add a bit of fun to the pizza-buying process by ordering online—an idea that was quite revolutionary at that time.

As we move further into the decade, there’s a noticeable surge in delivery platforms in the United States. In 1995, Waiter.com made its debut, offering options from over 60 diverse restaurants. Later in 1999, the market witnessed the introduction of Seamless, followed by Grubhub in 2004, marking significant milestones in the evolution of food delivery services.

With the ascent of smartphones in the 2000s, the popularity of online food delivery apps and services experienced a parallel surge. In the subsequent years, there was a notable increase, with some restaurants carving out their own delivery channels — Dominos notably initiating the pathway in 2007. Simultaneously, the domain of delivery apps witnessed a continuous rise, exemplified by the introduction of DoorDash in 2013 and Uber Eats in 2014, initially in the USA  and subsequently expanding globally.

The trend extended across borders, with various countries developing their own platforms. England welcomed Deliveroo in 2013, while Glovo emerged in Spain in 2014. Colombia joined the wave with the introduction of Rappi in 2015, marking just a few examples of the diverse array of delivery services proliferating worldwide. The global landscape saw an influx of such platforms, transforming the way people experience and enjoy food delivery across the globe.

The true explosion of these platforms occurred during the pandemic, as both restaurants and consumers found themselves with limited options to enjoy restaurant cuisine. However, even four years since the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown, the delivery industry continues its upward trajectory, showing no signs of slowing down. Remarkably, according to a 2021 study, 68% of consumers indicate that they are more inclined to order food delivery than they were pre-pandemic.

Drawbacks of Third-Party Delivery

Data from Spain reveals that a staggering 70% of restaurants have chosen to partner with major food delivery platforms. However, this convenience comes at a cost, with platforms often charging substantial fees, sometimes reaching up to 35% of the total order value.

Moreover, the hefty commission fees are just one part of the challenge. The inability to access customer data and the difficulty in personalizing and effectively transmitting their brand identity through these platforms pose significant obstacles for restaurants. This limitation not only restricts the opportunity to forge direct relationships with customers but also blocks the pathway to customizing dining experiences, offering targeted promotions and understanding customer preferences.

Relying  exclusively on these delivery platforms to ensure timely and quality food delivery can pose significant risks for restaurants. Instances of delayed deliveries or food arriving in poor condition can not only lead to customer dissatisfaction but also reflect negatively on the restaurant’s reputation. Studies have indicated that a considerable majority—76%—of customers hold the restaurant responsible for any errors made by third-party delivery services.

As the demand for delivery services continues to surge, restaurants face a critical juncture. It’s evident that relying solely on third-party platforms may not be the most sustainable approach in the long run. To ensure profitability and long-term sustainability, restaurants must explore new strategies for customer engagement, loyalty cultivation and delivery service refinement. By taking proactive steps to gain control over the delivery process and uphold customer satisfaction, restaurants can position themselves for enduring success in an industry marked by dynamic consumer preferences and intense competition.

Zuplyit: Delivering Solutions to the Delivery Dilemma

In conclusion, the rise of food delivery services has undeniably transformed the culinary landscape, offering convenience and accessibility to consumers while presenting new challenges and opportunities for restaurants. From its humble origins to its meteoric expansion fueled by technological advancements, the delivery industry has become an integral part of modern dining culture.

However, as we’ve explored, restaurants now find themselves at a pivotal juncture. While third-party platforms have been instrumental in meeting the surging demand, their reliance presents long-term risks.

The solution to the challenges posed by reliance on third-party delivery platforms lies in striking a balance between collaboration and independence. While continuing to leverage these platforms to reach new customers and increase brand visibility, restaurants must also pursue partial independence by establishing their own direct sales platforms. By partnering with last-mile delivery companies and employing their own delivery drivers, restaurants can gain control over the delivery process, ensuring a seamless experience for customers and greater autonomy. This strategic approach not only empowers restaurants with enhanced control but also strengthens their relationships with customers, ultimately paving the way for sustained success in the ever-evolving landscape of the food delivery industry.

This is where Zuplyit emerges as the optimal solution for restaurants eager to regain control of their operations. Our company is dedicated to empowering restaurants to break free from marketplace dependency with our specialized software. With Zuplyit, restaurants can reclaim ownership of their customer data, retain control over the delivery service and effectively manage their business—all without the need for complete detachment from existing delivery platforms.

At Zuplyit, we’ve seen the remarkable advantages that an efficient delivery system, direct communication channels and an in-house ordering platform can offer restaurants. That’s why we’re fully committed to helping them create their own ordering system. Our mission is to craft a platform that’s carefully designed to maximize efficiency and elevate customer satisfaction to new heights.