A Giant Change Is Coming to Both McDonald’s and Starbucks. (There’s Just 1 Little Problem)

…The customer of the future, according to both Starbucks and McDonald’s, will be a customer who might never set foot in a Starbucks or a McDonald’s.

That’s why both brands have announced big additions to their food delivery programs.

Starbucks had been testing delivery through Uber Eats in 20 U.S. cities. But it’s now announced that it will expand delivery throughout the entire country by 2020.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s — which has a big head start in delivery, and now calls it a $3 billion annual business — announced it’s expanding its program. 

Up until now, it’s partnered exclusively with Uber Eats, but it’s now going to partner with DoorDash as well. Doing so should increase the total percentage of the country that can get McDonald’s delivered from about 64 percent to 80 percent.

…It’s that since they’re outsourcing delivery to places like DoorDash and UberEats, Starbucks and McDonald’s are giving up control over big parts of their customer experience.

In most cases it’s literally the same gig economy workers doing the driving for all of the ride share and delivery companies. They’re also giving up access to data, and helping to turn these delivery companies into billion dollar entities. 

The advantage is a quick rollout, of course. But there’s another way they could do this.

McDonald’s and Starbucks could simply hire their own drivers directly. They don’t outsource food prep or other big parts of their businesses. What makes delivery different?

There’s a model for hiring your own drivers, too: Panera, which made a big deal about the fact that it employs the drivers at its 2,000 locations directly last year.

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