Fast food delivery services and fresh food delivery services are experiencing ever-changing trends in the market, as consumer behavior and technologies change. It's estimated that 60% of Americans order takeout every week.

A lot of these individuals also have food delivered to their doors.

If you're a restaurant owner or stakeholder, you must stay on top of trends to maintain customer loyalty, satisfaction and experience. We're going to highlight the main trends shaping the industry in 2024 and into 2025.

Meal Kits are on the Rise

Consumers have trended from wanting their food cooked for them to meal kits. You don't want to stop traditional food delivery, but you may want to consider offering kits that include:

  • All ingredients
  • Dishes that are prepared

But when delivered, the consumer finishes the cooking in the oven or microwave. It's a way for consumers to enjoy truly fresh meals, and the market is projected to grow to $25 billion in 2027.

good take out food

Businesses Continue to Rely on Third-party Delivery Apps

In-house delivery options are losing ground thanks to third-party food delivery apps. DoorDash, GrubHub and others make it fast and easy to start offering delivery. You'll need to consider:

  • Location
  • Price sensitivity
  • Drivers

If your business is in a small, rural town, it's possible that consumers may not want to pay the additional fees that these apps add or that there might not be enough drivers in your area.

In areas where the number of drivers is limited, your restaurant's delivery may be sporadic or fall short of customer expectations.

Delivery Automation is Gaining a Lot of Interest

You've seen the news: delivery robots and drones are also being tested. Serve Robotics is testing delivery robots, and DoorDash is testing delivery drones in the United States. While these advanced delivery options are not the norm yet, they're going to become more popular as they become perfected.

Technology is Driving Good Take Out Food and Deliveries

Technology advancements are changing the takeout and delivery industry, making it faster and easier than ever before for consumers to order food. A few of the many changes that are being driven by technology are:

Order Management Systems are Advancing

An order management system changes the course of online ordering. Restaurants that once struggled to streamline incoming orders can now manage orders across multiple third-party delivery solutions.

Order management systems can now:

  • Receive orders
  • Process orders
  • Set order priorities

An order management system reduces the risk of human error and speeds up delivery. Smaller restaurants can now offer the same, great customer experience that only large eateries were once able to offer.

Delivery Logistics is Expanding

On top of order management systems, delivery logistics are being added to restaurants across the country. Food needs to be delivered quickly to customers, stay warm and be able to be tracked.

Logistic systems allow for:

  • Optimized routes that deliver food in the fastest, most efficient manner
  • Maximum driver utilization, so no one is sitting around and wasting resources
  • Heightened customer satisfaction

Delivery logistics were once only possible for last-mile delivery and big delivery outfits, but with advanced options available, restaurants are now able to integrate logistics to deliver food faster and more efficiently.

KDS are Replacing Normal Tickets

Paper tickets were the standard in the restaurant industry, but kitchen display systems (KDS) are changing things.

These systems make it easy to manage and display orders in the kitchen, but they take things a step further by prioritizing orders based on factors like:

  • Delivery distance
  • Preparation time
  • Pacing multi-course meals

KDS can help optimize your kitchen's workflow, reduce wait times, and reduce the risk of order errors.

takeout delivery

Challenges in the Food Delivery Industry

There are plenty of positive food delivery trends, but there are also challenges that restaurants need to be aware of if they want to venture into this market.

Fluctuating Market Prices

One of the biggest challenges for restaurants offering takeout delivery is fluctuating market prices. Inflation, government regulation changes and fluctuations in supply and demand can affect food prices. And prices can change in the blink of an eye.

This volatility can make it challenging for food delivery businesses to implement the right pricing strategy and maintain profitability.

In most cases, fluctuating food prices will have the biggest impact on margins, and when delivery businesses fail to update their pricing to account for rising costs, they risk hurting their bottom line.

Shifting Consumer Expectations

Today's consumers are demanding. They want quicker delivery, more convenience and personalized service.

It can be challenging for food delivery businesses to keep up with these shifting demands and remain competitive.

Adopting new technology can help. Features like real-time order tracking and seamless payment options can give delivery companies an advantage over the competition.

Demands in terms of quality and health are also shifting. Consumers want healthier food options, and they want food delivery companies to offer higher-quality foods.

Managing Logistics

Managing deliveries can be challenging, especially when demand is high. Customers want their food delivered fast and hot, but mastering the logistics aspect of delivery can be a costly and complex challenge.

Route planning, scheduling and proper staffing can help businesses overcome this issue. Partnering with third-party companies and hiring more drivers can also ensure that customer demands are met.

Rising Competition

It seems as if every eatery is offering takeout and delivery options today. A sharp rise in competition can make it more difficult for smaller restaurants and eateries to keep up.

Bigger players may be able to offer lower prices, and this pressures smaller operations to lower their prices as well.

Small businesses can better compete by focusing on their unique value propositions, which might be offering specialized cuisine, local ingredients, more personalized service or an enhanced user experience.

Closing Thoughts

Delivery and takeout aren't new concepts in the food industry, but they have become more popular than ever since the pandemic. Eateries must find ways to adopt delivery and takeout options and leverage the emerging trends above to stay ahead of the competition.