Food-Delivery Companies Serve Restaurants Better Tech

Delivery companies are sharing more data and fusing technology more seamlessly with restaurants to counter the growing sense that sending food to customers can be more trouble than it is worth.

DoorDash Inc., valued at $13 billion after a May funding round of $600 million, is hiring more staff to build new services for restaurants and working with tech provider Olo to place orders directly in restaurant’s cooking queues.

… Two-thirds of U.S. restaurants offer delivery through DoorDash and its rivals, according to a survey of 400 operators by consulting firm Technomic Inc. Restaurants are expected to do $46 billion in delivery sales this year, up from $38 billion in 2015, according to Cowen & Co. estimates.

DoorDash agreed recently to place its orders directly into Portillo’s computers using a digital system made by New York-based Olo. That helped Portillo’s more often hit its goal of getting hot dogs from order to delivery within minutes. Portillo’s still has tablets for Grubhub orders, but orders via DoorDash are growing much more quickly due in part to the better system integration, said Nick Scarpino, Portillo’s vice president of marketing.

“The tablets are just unsustainable,” Mr. Scarpino said.

A Grubhub spokeswoman said the company is investing in ways to integrate orders directly into a restaurant’s software rather than relying on a provider conduit such as Olo.

Grubhub acquired Boston-based startup LevelUp last year for $390 million to integrate more of its orders into restaurant sales systems, speed up payments and offer delivery through a restaurant’s own website.

Grubhub in the past year also started giving restaurants more insights into customer behavior, including complaints and order requests that fall outside of operating hours, said Sam Hall, the company’s chief product officer.

Uber Eats in June reached a deal with Olo to place orders more seamlessly in a restaurant’s cooking queue. The number of U.S. restaurants with delivery integrated into their operating software has grown to about half of those that offer the service from practically none in 2015, according to Technomic surveys.

“Having an order directly zapped into your system means less labor effort. That’s a huge leg up,” said Liz Meyerdirk, head of global business development for Uber Eats. She said the deal with Olo helped Uber Eats win a delivery contract with Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc. and an expanded partnership with the Subway sandwich chain.

A Checkers representative said the technology was a key element in helping its online business.


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