Don't forget drinks: How to capture beverage sales in delivery
Editor's note: This is part 3 in a multi-part series of commentaries and blogs called "Delivering on Delivery." Click here for part 1 and 2.
By Larry Freeman, senior manager of guest analytic advantage, The Coca-Cola Company
As online food delivery grows rapidly across the U.S., it is important for foodservice operators to understand the landscape and ensure they are not leaving money on the table.
Online food delivery is expected to account for 30 percent of total restaurant industry growth through 2022, according to Morgan Stanley research. Restaurant delivery intermediaries represent a small but growing segment of the dining landscape, accounting for 18 percent of all delivery (up from 15 percent a year previously), according to Coca-Cola DINE360.
RDIs offer many benefits to restaurants, including incremental sales, access to new shoppers and new markets and the creation of new consumer occasions and need states. RDIs should not be confused with the average delivery visit. Success in the RDI marketplace requires restaurants to hone their offerings to fit a unique dining target, occasion and motivation.
The RDI Diner
RDIs attract a specific diner. According to Coca-Cola DINE360, they tend to be on the younger side, with 65 percent of orders coming from people ages 19-34. More than 50 percent of RDI diners are multicultural, and more than 44 percent are affluent. They are also almost all non-parents — 80 percent don’t have kids — and more than half are urban.
The RDI occasion
The RDI occasion is also unique. According to Coca-Cola DINE360, 68 percent of RDI occasions are intimate — enjoyed alone or as a couple. Although the occasions are spur-of-the-moment 48 percent of the time, they are also highly considered, with 59 percent of diners considering multiple locations before selecting one. Social media influences those RDI decisions much more often than other delivery decisions (over-indexing by 215) or foodservice decisions in general (over-indexing by 498). Most often, RDIs are used for the dinner occasion and tend to be more upscale than other dining occasions, with 69 percent of RDI orders placed for fine dining, casual, midscale or fast casual restaurants. More so than for other delivery occasions, RDI occasions tend to be motivated by a specific food craving. Coca-Cola DINE360 research also shows that 66 percent of RDI occasions lack a beverage purchase — presenting an opportunity for foodservice operators to capture untapped sales.
How to capture beverage sales
As delivery becomes increasingly popular, customers who only offer fountain beverages should consider adding bottled beverages to their offerings. Bottles offer delivery consumers the convenience of resealable packaging, and the incremental sales from bottled beverages can offset the cost of delivery to foodservice operators.
At a minimum, foodservice outlets should offer bottled beverages that are popular with meals: sodas (including low- or no-calorie options) and bottled water. Ideally, outlets should also offer at least one product from each of the following categories to give consumers a variety of options: other sparkling beverages, still beverages (like juices and sports drinks), premium beverages (like sparkling waters and craft sodas), tea and coffee.
There are several ways foodservice operators can maximize sales of bottled beverages in delivery transactions. On their digital delivery menus, operators should include beverages in imagery, create and feature meal bundles with beverages, list beverages as "add-ons" after consumers add items to the cart, group beverages by category (like "ice-cold sparkling beverages") and feature an image for every beverage and flavor offered.
As research suggests that delivery will only continue to increase in popularity, now is the time for foodservice operators to make sure their outlets are set up for success.