how the pandemic has changed everything so that nothing changes

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We make far more midweek food delivery orders than before the pandemic broke out, and the main driver of this transformation is the expansion of telecommuting… but can it be said that the delivery has unleashed a revolution and that is called to compete with the food we cook at home from Monday to Friday?

According the INEeverything seems to indicate that more than 80% of the active population did not work any day from home last year and, according to the JustEat Gastrometer, only 6% of its users saw telecommuting in 2021 as the ideal reason to order food delivery.

At the same time, remote work has not meant that daily and weekday orders can remotely compete with those of the weekend on the big platforms, where, by the way, according to data from Just Eat or Uber Eats, the most popular are still hamburgers, pizza, kebabs or Chinese cuisine.

daily restaurants

Carmen López, director of Business Intelligence at Just Eat in Spain, recalls that, in her application, “everyday food restaurants have gone from representing 10% to 15%”. These establishments are the ones that should respond with their menus of the day to the demands of professionals and families who now spend more time at home during the week and do not want to resort to fast food.

Pablo Samaranch, CEO of ApetEat, the new Spanish food delivery platform for companies that operates in Madrid and Barcelona, ​​confirms that “among users, the complete menu (composed of a starter, a main course, dessert and bread) continues to be the most requested (60%)”.

Although the arrival of daily restaurants to the large food delivery applications would have been spectacular, which it does not seem like it, it would not be possible to know for sure how many are going to continue betting on home delivery when their capacity limitations end and the telecommuting. If the past two years are any guide, telecommuting is clearly weakening every time the sense of pandemic danger cools.

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According the INE, those who did not work any day from home increased in the second quarter of 2021 by almost 800,000 people. And the CEO of ApetEat recalls that “orders from teleworkers reached 30%, their peak, during the first quarter of 2021, and throughout the year the demand also stabilized, especially after the summer and during the last quarter of the year, which is when the weight became 20%”. Now, in January, he adds, “due to the measures that companies are taking after the great incidence caused by the omicron variant, home orders have once again exceeded 25%”.

Of course, all these numbers do not at all indicate the star revolution that is announced so many times… but do they mean then that teleworking has been nothing more than a footnote in food delivery orders? No, it’s not that either.

Revolution is not the same as transformation

Courtney Tims, director of Uber Eats in Spain, points out, in this sense, that his multinational “generated 12,800 million dollars in the third quarter of 2021, which represents an increase of 46% compared to the third quarter of 2020”. In addition, according to data from the Just Eat Gastrobarometer, teleworking is ranked in Spain as the third ideal reason to order food at home, on the same level as sporting events, and after such general categories as ‘socializing with friends’ and ‘ watch TV’.


At the same time, according to Carmen López, director of Just Eat in Spain, the weight of midweek orders has taken off 22% compared to the data before the pandemic and breakfasts have ‘skyrocketed’ by more than 450% in 2021. And it is worth remembering that this does not include the phone orders that many people make to restaurants or the take away to eat at home.

In any case, López continues, “daily food has increased to double its volume in total on our platform.” One of the reasons why midweek orders remain so much lower than weekend orders is that the latter have also increased over the last two years.

The rules of the game have changed

Another sign that teleworking is altering the rules of the game in food delivery is that the demand for healthy food has grown, that prestigious chefs have multiplied in food delivery applications, that other chefs have arrived to create platforms of ‘virtual kitchens’ (exclusive establishments for delivery) and that the age range of 18 to 33 years has long since dominated orders.

According to the Gastrobarometer, the group between 33 and 55 years old represents half of the orders, compared to 38% concentrated by young people from 18 to 33 years old. The Gastrobarometer also indicates that “vegetarian and vegan food have experienced a notable increase in demand in the last year, of 50% and 80%” and, according to Pablo Samaranch, in ApetEat, “the demand for new menus in which include superfoods or trending dishes such as bowls and pokes have been gaining weight until reaching almost 20%”.

Those over 33 years of age displace young people in food delivery

At the same time, Dani García has deployed a multi-brand network of restaurants and ‘virtual kitchens’, helped by a venture capital fund. It’s called La Gran Familia Mediterránea and it specializes in mid-high range foods. Just Eat, in recent months, Ramón Freixa and Paco Roncero have joined with Cuatromanos, Martin Berasategui, Dani García or Punto Mx.

The push for remote work is also making itself felt in the demand intensity from one day to another. Samaranch, from ApetEat, recalls that “before the pandemic, Monday was the day with the highest demand of the week. However, now Tuesday has become the day in which more orders are placed (10% more than Monday)”.

This novelty, he continues, “mainly occurs because many of our users telecommute on Mondays while they go to their offices on Tuesdays. As for the rest of the days, the demand remains more stable on Wednesdays and Thursdays, being even above Monday in the last quarter. The demand on Fridays continues to be the lowest, which is due to the intensive workday, many of our users take advantage of this day to eat out”.

The giants have to adapt

Given all this great transformation, Beltrán de Soto, director of marketing and innovation at Restalia Holding (Cien Montaditos, The Good Burger or Panther Organic Coffee), acknowledges that they have created an entire delivery division that has already tested the deliveries of orders in the urban area, 73% of its stores in Spain offer the option of home delivery and that they opted for home deliveries during the worst of the pandemic with their own plan for their franchisees.

On Wetaca, they have lived their own madness, and that supposedly they were well positioned for what has happened, because they were born more than five years ago as a startup delivery of food containers at home. No one is prepared, however, for their average weekly orders to almost double in two years, from the end of 2019 to the end of 2021. And so 2021 was also a year of change for them: they hired staff, expanded facilities , which could now serve up to 10,000 weekly orders, and even reformed its business model, which has since opted for subscription.

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At ApetEat, warns its CEO, “we have had to completely transform our website to adapt to this new reality.” The big change, he continues, “has been to allow our customers to place their orders not only at their office, but also at home. In this way, they will always have two delivery addresses available, the usual one, which in our case is the office, and the one at home for the days on which they telecommute, also if the user already knows which days they will telecommute and which days they will to be in the office you can plan your order for the whole week”.

The great food delivery apps They have also had to adapt to the new times, but not so much because of teleworking but because of the evolution of consumer preferences that has exponentially accelerated the pandemic crisis. Thus, for example, Courtney Tims, director of Uber Eats in Spain, admits that they have “launched new features to improve our application, such as Pick Up and Go, which offers users the possibility of placing orders and picking them up during their Uber trip. ; Multi-Basket, which allows you to create, manage and pay for several shopping baskets within the application simultaneously; Advance orders, to place an order before the restaurant itself opens and pick it up right at opening time; and lastly, the offers hub, which brings together all the available offers and discounts”.

Working from home has not caused a revolution, but, as you can see, it has shaken a sector worth millions of euros and thousands of jobs in Spain. It remains to be seen, however, what will happen when this exceptional period ends, when companies have to make long-term decisions about face-to-face attendance without the threat of the next pandemic wave and capacity limitations when fears of eating in restaurants are thing of the past for many people.

We make far more midweek food delivery orders than before the pandemic broke out, and the main driver of this…

We make far more midweek food delivery orders than before the pandemic broke out, and the main driver of this…

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