Despite the economic challenges restaurant aggregators faced in 2022, the year nonetheless yielded many innovations.
Aggregators expanded into new categories, new methods of fulfillment and more.
They Honed Their Delivery Subscriptions
Perhaps above all else for these delivery marketplaces, 2022 was the year that their subscriptions really caught on. Grubhub drove adoption with partnerships, teaming up with companies with wide audiences — Amazon and Bank of America — to offer free yearlong subscriptions to their Prime members and cardholders, respectively.
Uber Eats, meanwhile, saw nearly a third of its delivery orders coming from members of its paid Uber One membership program, the successor to its Eats Pass delivery subscription, which offers discounts on food and beverage orders and fee-free fulfillment, among other perks and benefits for rides and delivery, for a set monthly or annual cost.
DoorDash, the United States’ leading restaurant aggregator, similarly touted the success of its DashPass offering in the face of inflation. Chief Financial Officer Prabir Adarkar stated on a call in November that the unit economics of the subscription program “work fine” at the current rate.
“I view an increase in subscription fee or DashPass as being something that would actually slow down the pace of DashPass adoption, which we’ve been very happy with so far,” Adarkar said at the time. “It continues to remain the largest paid membership program in the food category. We’ve hit record highs in terms of our DashPass subscribers.”
To further drive adoption, the San Francisco-based aggregator launched the ability to gift these subscriptions shortly thereafter.
Restaurant Aggregators Stepped up the War on Instacart and Vice Versa
Throughout the year, aggregators added new grocery delivery partners to their marketplaces, taking on leading grocery aggregator Instacart’s hold on the category.
Uber Eats announced this month a partnership to deliver from 250 of Midwestern retailer Meijer’s roughly 500 stores. DoorDash debuted a partnership with Kroger to deliver flowers and sushi from the grocery giant, and Grubhub has been noting positive results from its own forays into the grocery space.
“Grocers are overwhelmingly working towards an omnichannel strategy [and] to satisfy use cases from weekly shops to last-minute needs,” Christian Freese, Uber’s head of grocery and new verticals across the U.S. and Canada, told PYMNTS in an interview this month. “Delivery plays an important part of that.”
Conversely, Instacart has been taking on restaurant aggregators with prepared meal delivery. At the start of the year, the company announced the launch of its Ready Meals Hub, positioning these options as “cost-effective alternatives to restaurant takeout,” a clear play for restaurant aggregators’ customers.
They Forayed Into New Kinds of Delivery
From the even faster to the far slower, aggregators tried out new kinds of delivery.
Uber Eats, for one, announced in October that it is trying out ultrafast grocery delivery under the name Uber Eats Market, in partnership with British supermarket chain Iceland Foods. The U.K.’s Deliveroo has been expanding its ultrafast delivery service Hop.
They Turned to on-Premise Technology
In perhaps the greatest departure from the on-demand delivery model on which these aggregators built their following, DoorDash has also been turning its focus to the on-premise experience. Back in March, the company announced the acquisition of restaurant ordering and payment technology provider Bbot, aiming to leverage the company’s solutions both to improve its online channels and to power in-store ordering and payments.
“The in-store ordering software space is fairly fragmented,” Tom Pickett, chief revenue officer at DoorDash, told PYMNTS in an interview. “Vendors tend to focus on one subset of the problem — at-table QR code ordering, serving as a full [point of sale (POS)] or serving only enterprise merchants or small- and medium-size businesses. Bbot understands not only the software, but also in-store onboarding, implementation and deployment … With Bbot, we’re able to offer immediate value to merchants while integrating with their existing software.”