Forget presents under the tree. DoorDash is bringing Americans what they really want this holiday season: hot, fresh Wendy’s takeout delivered directly to their doors (or cold, fresh Frosties, if they so desire — DoorDash’s thermal bags can keep deliveries either hot or cold as needed).
Wendy’s and DoorDash announced earlier this month that they were expanding their partnership following a successful pilot program at 135 restaurants across Columbus, Ohio, and Dallas, Texas. The partnership is exclusive to locations in which DoorDash does business and is now serving customers out of 2,500 restaurants in 48 major U.S. markets.
Of course, Wendy’s is just one of many chains counting on DoorDash and other delivery platforms to boost sales. Others include Taco Bell, Baskin-Robbins, The Cheesecake Factory, and KFC — and those are just the firms that are also on DoorDash. McDonald’s, for example, offers delivery through competitor service Uber Eats.
Some, like Domino’s, are known for in-house delivery service, but not every restaurant has the bandwidth and resources to run its own such program. That is why so many are turning to tech-based companies like DoorDash, UberEats and Postmates.
Today, it seems the choice is between outsourcing or providing the service in-house. Not offering delivery puts quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and fast-casual restaurants at a disadvantage compared to others who offer better service, even if those competitors don’t have better food.
For instance, many people don’t think McDonald’s makes the best cheeseburger, and not everyone loves Domino’s pizza — but they do love the convenience of having those things brought to their doors with little more than a tap and a swipe of a phone on their part.
It is in those two brands’ footsteps that Wendy’s is now following, paying particular attention to ease and familiarity: The food may be just “good enough,” but at least it is consistent. The order arrives as expected and in a timely manner.
The strategy has delivered 26 consecutive quarters of U.S. sales growth for Domino’s, so it’s possible that Wendy’s could enjoy the same benefits by working with Postmates — and surely that is the company’s hope. It’s too soon to say how delivery has been working out for McDonald’s, since the option has only been available for a few quarters.
As USA Today noted, restaurants serving this type of food have always built their business models around a certain degree of consumer laziness. Not only do QSRs save customers the trouble of cooking or waiting for a nicer restaurant to cook the meal for them, but they also save themselves the trouble of getting out of their cars (if they choose to visit the drive-through) and of speaking in full sentences (if they simply order “the Number 8”).
In today’s tech-dominated world, it only makes sense that customer convenience would need to go a step further if QSRs want to differentiate themselves from competitors. Now, fast food can save customers the trouble of leaving their homes at all.
App- and web-based ordering have another advantage, and that is increasing order size — by 1.5 to 2 times as much, in many cases.
Is that purely due to the convenience? Do customers order more because they don’t feel the time pressure of standing in a line and having to think on their feet, thus allowing them to order what they really want? Is a computer just better at upselling than a human cashier, or does the privacy of a delivery order simply remove the shame associated with buying fast food for dinner?
Whatever the reason, people tend to order more on delivery platforms, and that’s good news for sales.