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Industry Innovation

Food Service Evolution in the Digital Age

New E-commerce Platforms and Digital Investments Enhance Digital Portals

C-store shopper receiving her purchase at home.

ven before the pandemic, people had a taste for convenience. During the pandemic, as businesses were trying to survive the lockdowns, they were able to develop food service innovations which led to the average consumer discovering new and seemingly endless convenience possibilities. Now, 78% of consumers say they value convenience more now than they did prior to the pandemic.  With the food delivery market now being worth more than $150 billion globally, food service providers must add a digital element to stay competitive.

Order Delivery

Sixty-six million Americans ordered food delivery in 2015 to the tune of $8.7 billion. By 2020, those numbers tripled to 111 million Americans ordering $26 billion in food delivery. The projected food delivery in America is expected to reach $43 billion by 2025.

In Los Angeles, I started using a delivery service which only delivers fresh and healthy food. Even in the morning, I have a bag with healthy food delivered to me. I’ve never in my life lived as healthy as I do now.  Robert Pattinson, Actor

In 2021, 53% of consumers who were surveyed said food order delivery, as well as takeout, is an essential part of life. Why do consumers like digital food order delivery and takeout so much?

  • Communication:  Food service technology providers and consumers alike can speak about an order in real-time via chatbots and voice technology. Grocery shopping apps such as Instacart can utilize chat features to discuss substitutions to a shopping list. Food delivery apps such as DoorDash allow customers to add other stops to a food delivery by simply adding their desired item and location within a certain time period after their food order is placed. Businesses can also update their information via websites and apps to let consumers know current information in a timely fashion.
  • Data:  This element of technological food service benefits both the consumer and the food service business. Consumers can tell where their food order is at any given time simply by looking at the app. Domino’s Pizza tells a consumer when the order is received, where it is in the baking process, and when it is ready to be picked up or delivered in real-time. Consumers can also utilize apps to reorder entire orders from their order history or keep a list of favorites to limit the time it takes to enter a specific item. Businesses can find out who is ordering, what is being ordered, and the habits of certain customer bases.
  • Convenience:  Digital food order delivery allows people the convenience to order ahead or confirm seating at a restaurant and avoid long lines. Apps allow consumers to look at a menu, order and pay all within one format. Consumers like a choice when ordering food as much as they like choice in the types of food. People have a variety of options that fit their lives. They can order from an app or website and pick the food up from a drive-thru, pickup area in the restaurant, or parking in one of the pickup spots in the parking lot. People can order food via apps and websites, and have it delivered anywhere they prefer. Even on vacation or work trips, people do not have to know an area to order food and have it delivered.

Ecommerce of Food Delivery Services

Ecommerce is simply an online transaction of money and goods or money and services. Over 53% of consumers reported in a 2021 survey that they would continue to use grocery pick-up and delivery apps. It is also projected by the year 2025, globally, 15%-20% of the food and beverage total sales will be via eCommerce. Consumers have certain expectations for the way they use eCommerce for their food delivery:

  • Healthy Options: Whether it is from restaurants, grocery stores, or meal kits, more consumers are looking to live healthier lifestyles, and utilizing the eCommerce platforms helps them do that. Consumers find it easier to make healthy choices when they are shopping or ordering from an app than being in stores or restaurants faced with the temptations of foods considered unhealthy. Meal kits make it convenient and cost-effective to eat healthy because everything arrives and is pre-measured making it easier to cook the recipes provided and not waste ingredients, like herbs, when they are only needed for one recipe.
  • Convenience:  Consumers find it quick and easy to order, designate delivery, and pay all in one app or website. Oftentimes, consumers can store payment information, delivery addresses, and favorite items to make return shopping easier. It is also more beneficial for the business from which the consumer is buying because ease is usually indicative of repeat customers.
  • Food Selection:  There are many food trends that pop up on social media consistently. Also, people who live in remote areas may not have access to certain types of food or ingredients. Having the option of ordering food and ingredients that fit a trend or a lifestyle is much easier when there is the option to order online and have it shipped to them.


Many food stores and restaurants find the logistics of getting their products to consumers much easier with digitized ordering. eCommerce in the food industry gives businesses a chance, even the smallest convenience stores, to anticipate and handle fluctuations in volume as well as trends and consumer preferences in the area they sell. Other ways businesses benefit from eCommerce are:

  • Individual Buying Profiles:  Stores can rely on eCommerce for data that makes reordering and ordering trends readily available. Patterns arise in the ordering for a business and will take less time on their behalf when they need a delivery.
  • Meeting Expectations:  Consumers are used to having immediate results when they order. There are all sorts of campaigns from food companies such as delivery times of restaurants and guaranteed shipping times from online retailers. eCommerce makes it possible for businesses to live up to the expectations of their customer base.

Consumers what ease, dependability, and choice when it comes to their food delivery, and with eCommerce alternatives, businesses, big or small, can provide that to their customers. With the right digital options for your business, you can open up an entirely new customer base for your food business.

October 14, 2022