An image of kraft paper fast food container being delivered, food delivery fast food delivery in an article on Fast food delivery trends to watch in 2023

5 Fast food delivery trends to watch in 2023

Recent studies show half of adults believe takeout food and delivery services are essential. Furthermore, up to 60% of US consumers admit to ordering fast food at least once a week. As off-premises dining becomes the new norm, this is the perfect time for food vendors to kick-start their food distribution brands. 

This will include deciding whether to invest in a third-party app or a direct online ordering system, investing in takeaway packaging, and marketing the brand. Additionally, it will involve deciding whether to offer direct delivery or partner with a third-party delivery service. Therefore, food operators can benefit from learning more about the latest technologies and trends shaping the industry.

Discover which fast food delivery trends are predicted to transform the industry in 2023, and whether they suit your business. 

Is fast food delivery essential?

Approximately three billion people around the world use online food delivery services. While fast food delivery orders have been growing since 2016, the Covid-19 pandemic pushed the trend into overdrive. The pandemic forced millions of people into lockdown and several restaurants were forced to close their doors and lay off staff. While dining inside became impossible, people turned to fast food delivery apps. Notably, research shows 13% of surveyed individuals ordered “more” fast food during the pandemic. 

In 2020, the food delivery market enjoyed unprecedented growth, surpassing $26 billion in revenue and 111 million users. Today, the food delivery industry shows no sign of slowing down and is predicted to reach $43 billion in 2025.

Food delivery services offer businesses several interesting benefits. For instance, offering online ordering can expand the brands’ reach and enter new markets that most brick-and-mortar restaurants miss out on. More so, food delivery allows businesses to overcome the physical barriers of in-premises dining. With online ordering, both restaurant owners and customers no longer have to worry about waiting times or inadequate seating capacity.

Another excellent benefit of food delivery is fewer overheads. For instance, if online meals make up most of your business, you can shift to a ghost kitchen model. These “delivery-only” establishments operate exclusively online without the need for a physical dining room or storefront. As a result, they offer a flexible and cost-effective solution for meeting food delivery demand.

Integrating food delivery systems in your restaurant is also a highly effective way of increasing profits. A meal ordering channel can help streamline the process and save on labour costs. Moreover, you can reach new customers without expanding your kitchen or renting a new space. 

While fast food delivery is incredibly beneficial, there are disadvantages to be aware of. For instance, you have less control over the product once it has left the kitchen – regardless of whether you hire an in-house or third-party delivery service. So, a buyer may have a poor impression of the restaurant due to weather conditions or traffic that lead to cold or poorly presented food. 

More so, using a delivery fleet creates additional costs, such as payroll, insurance, and gas. Additionally, using a third-party service comes with various fees. In both cases, you are likely to experience smaller profit margins and fewer profits.

An image of consumers eating out of fast food boxes, takeout containers, fast food delivery, in an article on Fast food delivery trends to watch in 2023

5 Fast Food Delivery Trends in 2023

Let’s dive into the fast-food delivery trends businesses need to look out for in 2023.

Leveraging automation and tech 

Food delivery services face the challenge of finding the shortest, most efficient routes and offering quick deliveries. With the advancement of technology and artificial intelligence (AI), more companies are likely to use advanced mapping to optimise routes, predict traffic patterns, and ensure reliable delivery.

In addition, more restaurants and fast food chains are likely to experiment with drone and autonomous food deliveries. They might also rely on automation software to eliminate repetitive tasks, save time, and improve delivery times. 

More direct deliveries from restaurants 

Another trend that is likely to appear is keeping an in-house delivery fleet. Many fast-food chains and restaurants prefer keeping their own fleet of drivers instead of hiring a third-party service. This option can help, businesses can stand out from competitors, improve delivery times, and enjoy better control of the delivery process. Additionally, restaurants can optimise schedules and routes to ensure customers enjoy an excellent delivery experience.

Rise of ghost kitchens 

Research shows up to 80% of Americans order food online. As food delivery grows, new restaurant models are making their way into the market. Ghost restaurants are a relatively new yet prevalent phenomenon. Unlike traditional restaurants, these lack brick-and-mortar locations where customers can dine. Instead, they create commercial kitchens that prepare and fulfil customer orders. Ghost restaurants allow customers to get their favourite dishes delivered to their doorstep while helping restaurant owners reduce operational and labour costs.

Tech giants may enter the fast food market 

In 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods, allowing the brand to enter the foods and groceries industries. After this, Uber introduced its revolutionary Uber Eats platform, allowing users to order food and have it delivered directly to their doorstep.

Today, companies such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub enjoy the largest shares of the food delivery market. This is likely to encourage more tech giants to enter the fast food industry in order to profit from the growing trend. 

Minimising the carbon footprint of fast food deliveries

As more people become conscious of their carbon footprint, eco-friendly food delivery will be one of the top trends in 2023. Research shows 43% of surveyed people would pay more for deliveries that follow sustainable practices. In addition, 54% of respondents preferred eateries that forgo excess packaging. Therefore, companies that use recycled or recyclable packaging, electric vehicles, or local food producers will attract more traffic. 

An image of a consumer unpacking a fast food delivery, fast food boxes, takeout containers, takeout food, takeaway boxes, in an article on Fast food delivery trends to watch in 2023

The takeaway 

The fast food industry has evolved significantly and shows no signs of slowing down. In order to dominate your competition and grow your reach, it is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest market trends. Ensure the success of your meal delivery services by remembering the trends mentioned above. In addition, keep an eye out for new technologies and changes to grow your profitability and climb to the top.