RDI: Why restaurant leaders should know what that means today

| by S.A. Whitehead
RDI: Why restaurant leaders should know what that means today

Where there is a will there's a way and in the restaurant industry consumers "will" take the easiest route to getting food delivered to their doors, one reason why online food delivery is skyrocketing in the U.S. In fact, Morgan Stanley research shows 30 percent of all growth over the next five years in the  restaurant industry will come via online orders. 

That's why this little acronym — RDI — may be one of the restaurateur's favorites in the years ahead. It stands for restaurant delivery intermediaries currently just 18 percent of all delivery, but that's up 3 percent from last year and it's only continuing in that direction, according to Coca-Cola's food research arm, DINE360. 

Why do you Ms. or Mr. Restaurant Leader care? Well, the beverage company's research shows that RDIs offer a quick route to increases in incremental sales, new shopper and market access as well as new consumer occasion and need creation. 

But, don't confuse RDIs with other more standard forms of delivery because success in this marketplace depends on restaurant brands taking conscious action to make offers that fit an exclusive target, occasion and motivation.  

This is a particular type of consumer at this point, with the lion's share (65 percent) of orders from the 19 to 34 age group, or young millennials and older Gen Z-ers. More than half of these orders come from multicultural individuals and nearly half (44 percent-plus) qualify as affluent. Eight percent of these orders are placed by those without children and more than half live in the city. 

What kinds of occasions are they ordering for? According to the DINE360 data, most are classified as "intimate," meaning alone or as part of a couple, while nearly half (48 percent) are placed "spur-of-the-moment."

Plus, if they're placing an order with your brand it's because it already won a race of sorts, since 59 percent of these orders come from those who looked at a number of locations, with 25 percent influenced by social media chatter. 

Usually, these are dinner orders from fine dining, casual, mid-scale or fast casual brands and in one-fifth of the cases, the order was strongly motivated by a specific food craving, although 66 percent did not include beverages. 

On that note, Coke came up with some tips for getting the liquids included in the order. Those are: 

  • Consider adding bottled drinks if you only offer fountain beverages. They offer convenience for the customer and for the restaurateur, Coca-Cola said "the incremental sales from bottled beverages can offset the cost of delivery to foodservice operators."
  • Offer at least one sparkling a.k.a. carbonated drink, one still drink like a juice or sports drink, a premium beverage like a higher end sparkling water and one tea/coffee. 

To maximize the bottled beverage sales via delivery, digital delivery menus should include pictures of each beverage and flavor with listings grouped by category, as well as meal/beverage bundle options and listing beverages as "add-ons" after consumers start a virtual cart. 

Photo: iStock

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Delivery, Trends / Statistics

S.A. Whitehead

Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.

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