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Home deliveries have accelerated over the past few years, yet many restaurants are still struggling to mitigate the snowballing costs of offering such services. This is due not only to surging inflation, but to unsustainable methods of delivery, as well.
Nevertheless, restaurants are still expected to meet ongoing consumer expectations for online orders – a trend only intensified by the pandemic. Some estimates predict that up to 9% of all food service sales were made via delivery in 2022.
As these trends continue to shift the industry landscape, restaurants and especially food sellers must implement new strategies if they expect to fulfill customers’ ultra-fast delivery expectations while still turning a profit.
Third-party delivery services are one option that businesses can use to expand their delivery radiuses, broaden their customer bases, and increase their order volumes. With these end-to-end services, restaurants need not worry about delivery logistics – the resources or infrastructure needed to support an internal fleet of couriers – and can instead focus solely on in-house operations.
While third-party deliverers help increase the number of orders made and fulfilled, these services come with their own price tag: some take as much as 30% from restaurants on every order, and charge customers high delivery fees. Such costs can quickly become unsustainable for some small and medium-sized businesses who are already struggling to keep up with larger chains.
These costs become even less tenable for restaurants and retailers operating in suburban neighborhoods, where on-demand delivery can be impractical – traditional couriers can only make a few deliveries per hour in such areas. This makes the 82 million single-family households in America’s suburbs a massive, untapped market for on-demand, ultra-fast delivery.
The question remains: how can retailers of any size provide wider delivery coverage in these types of areas at lower costs?
Using drones and other robotics, the emerging autonomous delivery sector can help restaurants meet consumers’ on-demand expectations while making last-mile delivery fulfillment faster, safer, and more sustainable.
With their lean operations – eliminating couriers, cars, gas costs, and traffic – such services are considerably economical, and can help offset the costs of traditional third-party delivery services with significantly lower operational costs. Restaurants that utilize autonomous solutions only need to cook their food while an automated service takes care of everything else.
Consider that a traditional courier in the suburbs can complete roughly two deliveries per hour, assuming traffic and other external factors permit. Alternatively, a drone operator can monitor multiple deliveries at once, making around 10 suburban deliveries per hour without the hindrances of traffic or courier capacity.
Robotic delivery similarly offers an efficient, sustainable, delivery option for restaurants and retailers. Like drones, robotic delivery services can lower last-mile transportation costs, which otherwise account for roughly 40% of the total cost of delivery.
Automated services are becoming more viable each day, providing the same frictionless end-to-end experience of other third-party services without the high costs. These solutions are easily integrated into restaurants’ existing frameworks, and can handle all the logistical aspects of delivery, including , maintenance, staffing, insurance, and fulfillment.
One prime example of this sustainable trend is Flytrex, the leading on-demand drone delivery service for food and retail. Flytrex is now integrated with Otter's proprietary order management system, allowing eligible Otter customers to get drone delivery fast and simple, directly through their point-of-sale systems. The integration of these two unique services is another step towards making drone delivery a reality across the U.S.
Flytrex’s service will be presented as an additional third-party delivery provider on Otter users’ order management tablets. As a result of this partnership, local restaurants which utilize Otter can leverage autonomous services in one simple click, reaping the benefits of affordable, ultra-fast delivery.
Both drone and robotic delivery solutions have already proven that they can bring food to households in mere minutes at scale without compromising on the quality of delivery or customer experience. These vehicles are specifically designed to deliver a cup of hot coffee without spilling a drop!
Such solutions will soon be an invaluable resource for small businesses, as they enable added efficiency, increased business volume, and ultra-fast delivery without the high costs of traditional third-party platforms.
For retailers struggling to meet skyrocketing expectations for on-demand fulfillment while keeping costs down-to-earth, now there's a flight at the end of the tunnel.