Over the past few years, the food industry has seen drastic changes. It has pivoted from a world of strictly sit-down meals or take-out, with some restaurants offering delivery services, to a world where nearly any meal can be ordered and delivered through a third party. According to Statista, 20% of Americans order food delivery at least once per week. A variety of firms have been formed to take advantage of these new opportunities: GrubHub, Seamless, Foodler, Caviar, Insomnia Cookies, and UberEats have introduced an entirely new level of consumer convenience to the restaurant experience. However, as in any industry, its growth has presented new assignable causes of poor quality: in this instance, companies are realizing that not all foods can be as easily transported. Ice cream, for example, faces the obvious challenge of melting in transit, drastically decreasing the value it provides the customer. A more widespread issue is combating sogginess. Items that mix wet and dry ingredients, such as a gyro or nachos, are at risk of losing their appeal by the time they reach their final destination. Even something as simple and common as french fries can be ruined due to the accumulation of steam within the packaging. Without solutions to these issues, the food delivery industry will find its horizons significantly limited.
Fortunately, delivery companies have heard consumer complaints and are tackling the issues head on. The article gives the example of a delivery worker packaging ice cream first in a space blanket, then in a cooler bag to provide sufficient insulation. It also highlights tactics such as giving french fries breathable containers, allowing customers to “assemble” the food when it arrives, and cutting out menu items that simple can not be delivered in a satisfactory manner. Additionally, they have put an increased emphasis on logistics. By ensuring that drivers are taking the fastest routes from the restaurant to the delivery location, they can assure that there is minimal damage to the quality of the foods. Each of these steps represents an attempt to assure that the third party transit providers are not decreasing the quality of the product. The value chain, from ingredients that become meals in the restaurant, to pick up by a driver, to drop off at the customer’s house, combines multiple entities, but can be analyzed as a single supply chain. Each entity has its own motivations to ensure that the quality of the final product is sufficient: the restaurant’s reputation will drop if their food is not well-preserved, customers will not order from delivery companies if the food they receive is low quality, and naturally, because quality is the level of satisfaction customers derive from the product, their evaluation of quality is crucial.
In order to ensure the maintenance of quality in delivery, companies could implement x-charts to evaluate the consistent speed of delivery, and thus consistent quality of food delivered. However, some common cause will always exist due to the unpredictability of wait times at restaurants and in traffic. Analysis of each driver’s performance can still give companies some guidance as to who is most committed to keeping their deliveries high quality.