Is This the Future of Delivery?

Michelle Lawrence Picture

by Michelle Lawrence | Last Updated: May 12, 2021

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably lost count of the times you’ve ordered delivery for dinner in the past year. Blame it on my lack of desire to leave my house or my unwillingness to cook, but I prefer to think of it as taking advantage of my resources.  By now, we all know how the process goes; you order your food, and then you get a notification when the delivery driver is at your residence. But what if I told you delivery as we know it may take on a different appearance. What if I told you delivery was going autonomous? Let’s take a look at three brands leading the charge in autonomous delivery.  Chipotle  Chipotle is kind of known for its cutting-edge mobile marketing strategy (and the best food from a QSR, in my opinion). Its latest announcement is no exception. Chipotle is one of many fast-food brands entering the autonomous delivery game to keep up with consumer expectations. In 2020, half of Chipotle’s digital sales came from delivery, and the trend toward third-party delivery doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. In March, Chipotle announced its partnership with Nuro, a robotics company focused on autonomous delivery vehicles. Last year proved just how powerful innovation can be for brands. We witnessed an increase in ghost kitchens, contactless payment systems, and the resurgence of QR codes. As more brands come to realize innovation is the key to success, I think you’ll see more quick-service restaurants (QSRs) invest in additional digital technology. Now if I can just get Chipotlanes to my area, I’ll never eat anywhere else.  Domino’s Pizza When you think of food delivery, pizza probably comes to mind first. Domino’s has a history of changing things up, including its marketing strategy and the pizza recipe itself. So, changing up its delivery-game is very on-brand for the company.  Like Chipotle, Domino’s has also teamed up with Nuro in an attempt to delight consumers with autonomous delivery. Using SMS, customers will receive a text with the vehicle’s location. Though initially announced in 2019, those in Houston can finally utilize Domino’s autonomous delivery today.  Chick-fil-A  Stop by any Chick-fil-A restaurant during lunchtime and you’ll likely find yourself in a drive-thru line that rivals a line at Disney World. I myself have waited almost an hour to purchase its notable chicken sandwich, but that’s not to say my patience doesn't wear thin. Thanks to technology like mobile ordering, consumers expect to receive their food instantly; it’s no wonder why Chick Fil A has decided to partner with Kiwibot with its plans to roll out autonomous delivery robots If there’s one thing Chick-fil-A is known for, it’s their customer service, and let me assure you its partnership with Kiwibot won’t disappoint. Kiwibot’s autonomous vehicles can smile and even wink after making a delivery and have an average delivery time of 30 minutes.  Exceed Expectations  It’s no secret that third-party delivery costs are pretty steep. Combine that with the trend towards delivery remaining steady and you have an unblemished case for autonomous delivery.  In the past year, consumer expectations have risen significantly (no matter if you’re B2B or B2C). 68 percent of customers have said they would reduce their loyalty if they have a bad customer service experience. With an abundance of options when it comes to QSRs, brands have no room for error.  Investing in new digital technology is a great way to not only meet consumer expectations but exceed them. Maybe autonomous delivery doesn’t make sense for your brand, but take a page from these brands’ playbooks; innovation is the key to satisfied consumers.

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