Delivery: A high-stakes sector that’s here to stay

The delivery and takeaway revolution prompted by COVID-19 lockdowns gives operators and suppliers opportunities for growth in the years ahead—but it also brings new risks to brand reputation.
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CGA’s ‘Food Insights Report 2021’ report reveals the scale of the market now, with nearly half (45%) of consumers ordering hot food for delivery in the last 12 months. Significant numbers have also ordered food and drink via a drive-thru outlet (29%) and used click-and-collect or other types of pick-up at restaurants or bars (22%), while 12% have embraced the growing trend for alcohol delivery. 


Delivery habits that were established during lockdowns look set to stay, despite the reopening of restaurants and other sites for eating in. Well over half (61%) of consumers who ordered delivery for the first time, or more often than usual, plan to maintain their frequency of ordering, and the CGA & Slerp Hospitality at Home Tracker shows that managed groups’ delivery and takeaway sales have remained at around treble their pre-pandemic levels this summer. 


However, the ‘Food Insights Report 2021’ report highlights the damage that poor delivery experiences can do to operators’ brands. Two in five (42%) consumers say they would be less likely to order from a restaurant again if their order was unsatisfactory, while a third (35%) would hold a restaurant responsible for a poor experience—nearly three times the number who would blame a third-party delivery company (13%) 


The report also points to the multitude of factors that consumers look for in their food delivery, including high quality, temperature, choice, value, delivery times and communication.  


Our research shows how COVID-19 has embedded deliveries and takeaways more deeply in consumers’ habits than ever before,” says CGA client director Chris Jeffrey. “It puts a lot of pressure on restaurants and other outlets to master some tricky operational logistics, carefully manage relationships with third-party delivery platforms and find the right balance between eat-in and at-home marketing strategies. Understanding the very latest habits and demands of consumers is going to be crucial to success in this dynamic but complex part of the market, and suppliers have a big part to play in helping operators get things right.” 


The full ‘Food Insights Report 2021’ is available from CGA now. It contains a wide range of actionable insights into food delivery that can help suppliers, wholesalers and operators provide consumers with good experiences and sharpen sales, marketing and brand strategies.  


The report also has a comprehensive review of key food trends and developments in out-of-home eating. It comes with extensive data, and there are opportunities for bespoke analysis and consumer segmentation for specific target markets. 


To learn more, click here and email CGA client director Chris Jeffrey at 

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