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Consumer Trends

Which restaurant chains are winning with delivery?

Consumers rate limited-service brands on off-premise food quality, taste and visual appeal.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Demand for restaurant delivery continues to increase, with 28% of consumers ordering delivery more often than a year ago, according to Technomic. While pizza concepts have pretty much mastered the delivery game, other types of restaurants are not meeting consumer expectations. Takeout orders, which account for a greater share of off-premise business than delivery, typically get higher marks than the latter when it comes to food quality, taste and visual appeal, finds Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics (CBM) program.

So which limited-service chains are delivering on the promise of a quality meal delivered to diners’ doorsteps?

Who’s mastering delivery?

In the fast-casual segment, sandwich players do best with delivery because the food travels well, says Robert Byrne, senior manager of consumer insights for Technomic. The chains that consistently come out on top are Jason’s Deli, Jimmy John’s, Corner Bakery, Firehouse Subs and Newk’s Eatery, he says. Among QSRs, McDonald’s received higher ratings from survey respondents than Burger King.

Here’s how consumer satisfaction ratings* compare for delivery and takeout (excludes pizza concepts):

QSR consumer satisfaction with delivery vs. takeout

Fast casual consumer satisfaction with delivery vs. takeout

*Percentage of consumers who gave the highest possible rating

Who takes the fall?

Although some of the ratings are pretty close for delivery and takeout, consumers are more apt to blame the restaurant when a delivery order is substandard—even when it’s delivered by a third party such as DoorDash or Uber Eats, according to Technomic.

Here are some of the consumer comments about delivery from specific chains, gathered from Technomic’s CBM survey:

Wingstop: “Much of the order was missing and they wouldn’t/couldn’t fix it. Paid for food I did not get and what I got was average at best.”

Panda Express: “The food was delicious, hot and on time.”

Pizza Hut:“Delivery was very late, pizza was cold and it looked awful.”

Jimmy John’s: “Sandwich was delivered on time, was fresh and tasty.”

Papa John’s: “Some days the food is good, but other days, the food can be delivered burnt.”

Hungry Howie’s: “They are always on time with delivery and taste is always amazing. Consistent service too.”

Jason’s Deli: “Order was correct and arrived on time. The food was hot and the delivery driver was awesome.”

• Burger King: “Food was delivered quickly but it was cold.”

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