Food Delivery Backlash

A few weeks ago I told you about a study we’re conducting. At one level it’s about the food delivery business, at another it’s about logistics. Most broadly it’s concerned with the business changes that the gig economy is creating. They’re huge, of course. And now the food delivery backlash is beginning.

An Advocate of the Food Delivery BacklashThe Food Delivery Backlash (as in … the fact that a food delivery backlash is starting to happen) first occurred to me when I came across this piece at Gizmodo. The mostly-young people who turn out that particular example of new media have never struck me as being very good at seeing “the big picture”; I was shocked. Stop Using Seamless because it might be hurting restaurants? Even if that means that you need to pick up your own tacos?

A week later, a similar sentiment was echoed at Lifehacker, this time by “professional trash panda” Claire Lower, Lifehacker’s Food and Beverage Editor. And yes, Lifehacker also seems to be written by a collection of people with not all that much life experience.

Here’s the thing: if “the kids” are already starting to think there’s more happening in food delivery than the mere convenience, there’s business change coming. So as I asked almost three years ago, when will food delivery actually work?

Food Delivery Backlash

There’s a piece of me that believes solving it means this problem needs to be localized or specialized. Spoonrocket failed—I’d guessed it would right when it started up—but there are other options in the food delivery specialization space that look promising. The we’ll-deliver-whatever firms are still trying to figure it all out. So far they’re largely finding more problems than solutions.

I’ve been speaking with food sellers of all sizes. Single-employee caterers, small restaurants and large chains all agree that there’s a problem. And they mostly agree that the problem is in motivating the delivery people. Until that’s fixed, the food delivery backlash will build, even if the cost issues get addressed.

The food business is complicated. That’s why we created The Restaurant Answer Guy, and why food delivery backlash will take time to shake out. Watch this space, or if you want to talk, start here.

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