A majority of consumers (76%) hold the restaurant at least partially responsible for any errors, even if restaurants have a formal agreement with third-party ordering portals and delivery services, according to a study conducted by Chicago-based Technomic.

"This puts operators' brand reputation at risk each time a customer orders delivery through these services," says Melissa Wilson, a principal at Technomic. "Even if delivery is not a current strategic initiative, operators should educate themselves about and understand the dynamics of the third-party delivery market, so they can put guardrails in place to maintain quality and brand reputation."

The study, “On Demand Delivery: Disrupting the Future of Foodservice,”helps operators and third-party delivery services interpret the evolving dynamics with this distribution channel to strengthen their ability to create effective strategies, devising plans related to the potential impact on operations, product mix and store design or developing their own delivery offering.

Additional findings from this study include:

·         Third-party services are generating additional business for casual dining restaurants and other concepts that do not offer delivery. More than a third (34%) of third-party users reported ordering from casual dining restaurants and 14% ordered from family-style restaurants that do not offer delivery on their own.

·         Chain restaurants are almost twice as likely as independents to receive delivery orders. Two-thirds of delivery orders either placed directly with a restaurant (69%) or via a third-party service (66%) were from a chain restaurant.

·         One in five third-party service users ordered a burger. Although pizza still dominates the restaurant delivery space, third-party service users are taking advantage of the wider variety of options available and ordering items that restaurants have hesitated to offer for delivery themselves.

The data, rankings and insights provided in the study were developed using primary research, including qualitative research, with third-party delivery customers and an online survey with 2,800 consumers who either use third-party delivery or restaurant-operated delivery services. Additional insights were obtained from interviews with third-party delivery providers and restaurant executives. Secondary research, including profiling of leading third-party providers, also was employed.