Survey finds high expectations for food delivery

A food delivery bag on a doorstep.

Written by James Shea

People have high expectations of food delivery. That is the conclusion of a recent study entitled “How Spoiled Are Consumers With On-Demand Delivery?” by logistics platform Circuit.

“Americans are in love with delivery, but they have high expectations,” according to the study.

Food delivery exploded at the start of the pandemic and has continued to be a strong buying channel for U.S. consumers. They want the convenience of home entertainment and off-premises dining. That also means consumers have high expectations. They have gotten used to quick delivery from Amazon and a food delivery driver who can bring their food in 30 to 45 minutes.

For the survey, Circuit talked to 1,066 U.S. citizens. The people who participated in the study were 55% male and 45% female. The sample group was equally divided between Generation X, Millennials, Baby Boomers and Generation Z. The survey did admit, however, that it had “certain limitations with self-reporting.”

Interestingly, the expectations of food being delivered within 30 minutes was divided by generation. Older people had higher expectations for quick service. Only 27% of Generation Z expected their food in under 30 minutes, but 42% of Baby Boomers had that expectation.  Around 33% of Generation X and Millennials expected food in under 30 minutes.

“Digital generations, like Gen Z, were more likely than older generations to use technology to track orders and understand timing,” according to the study.

The study also looked at expectations of delivery for packages and a similar trend existed between the generations. The study also noted that discontent for late delivery was higher for food than package delivery. That was true for all generations.

The study also compared timely delivery between Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart and Postmates, which is owned by Uber. Uber, DoorDash and Gubhub were all around 80% but Instacart was 57% and Postmates was the lowest at 55%.

There was clearly a correlation between timely delivery and user experience. Customers were more willing to order again after a positive experience. The opposite was true of a negative experience. Interestingly, nearly everyone surveyed said they had had some sort of problem with an order at some point in time.

“66% of Americans would stop ordering from a company or delivery app following a late delivery while 73% claimed they would order more frequently following an early or timely delivery,” according to the study.

When a mistake happens, a refund, at 52%, was the most requested action. Reorder from the same store or restaurant was the next highest at 47%. The lowest was to file a complaint against the drive at 22%.

And people want the order delivered to their doorstep. According to the study, 85% said a tip should be based on the driver delivering the order to the doorstep.

“Consumers didn’t necessarily blame the driver for issues with deliveries, they instead blamed the company or restaurant for the mistake,” according to the study. “Still, over half of Americans reported suspecting a driver of eating or drinking a portion of their order during the delivery process.”

Clearly, people have high expectations of delivery drivers. That means that the restaurants and third-party delivery companies must work together to create a quality user experience. The food must be timed to the delivery of the driver, and the driver must make sure the food is handled professionally. The goal is to create an amazing guest experience for customers that decide to eat off-premises. Otherwise, third-party delivery and the restaurant will have a difficult time being successful.

“The emotional backlash of an incorrect delivery could also be influential to consumer loyalty,” according to the study.

Other articles you may like

Online grocery sales increase 17%

Online grocery sales increase 17%

Inflation has impacted the entire food and beverage sector, and the grocery industry is no exception. According to the...