Food Delivery: Let the Hunger Games Begin

7Park Data Publishes Online Food and Grocery Delivery: New Food Economy Insight Series Report

Today anyone with access to the internet, a smartphone, and a credit card can choose from a plethora of restaurant and meal options to have food delivered anywhere in a major city with less than an hour’s notice. No more shouting into the phone to make yourself understood to someone in a noisy kitchen. Yet, we estimate that only 5% of all takeout food in the United States is conducted online. The rest is still conducted over the phone. The business of delivering food is undergoing rapid change as new online platforms race to capture customers that seek expanded choice and convenience.

In 7Park Data’s latest Insight Series report — Online Food and Grocery Delivery: New Food Economy — we unveil the current business landscape of the US and global online food and grocery delivery industry to inform private food technology startups and the largest food companies on this growing space. This research report provides an overview of market dynamics and competitive data across industry events, including performance measurements, insights into the growth strategies of the leading players, and unique views of consumer behaviors that are shaping this fast-changing market.

Here are a few key takeaways from the report:

Growth Potential, Trillion Dollar Takeout

We believe the US takeout market size has enormous growth potential as consumers begin spending less time dining out at restaurants and more time ordering in. We estimate that restaurant spend will register consecutive years of real growth (inflation adjusted) above 2% (in line with The Sales & Economic Forecast of the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast), and that takeout will grow its share to 25% over the next decade.

Different, yet Converging Models

The on-demand sector has disrupted markets by adopting a full cycle approach to the three major components of a traditional restaurant experience: ordering, cooking, and delivering. In spite of a range of models and company types within the on-demand space, all are premised on the same psychological appeal: buy consumers time and save consumers effort, delivering not only meals, but convenience across every consumer touchpoint. The delineation among various models is blurring, and, as a result, we have both a noisy multiplayer marketplace and a clear market leader.

Order Volume

According to 7Park Data’s latest analysis of consumer behavior, based on purchases from millions of anonymous users in the United States, the overall number of food delivery orders has been steadily growing over the past two years. As regional successes go national, we believe that off-premise food order volume will outpace overall restaurant industry traffic growth over the next decade.


The economics of food order and delivery are tough to manage and scale. It is difficult for companies to find a price point that is attractive to consumers and pays for the goods and services. The fixed cost of a delivery network, in addition to other startup overhead, can only be sustained through capital injection, but organically overcome through growth. Customer retention, specifically, is a broad and inherent challenge given that all the players are fighting for the same customers; in a network-effects business, expansion must occur at a quick clip or the business risks stagnation and will be outcompeted. We believe many of the upstarts highlighted in this report are “in the soup,” and that the overcrowded space will continue to experience consolidation by way of acquisitions and strategic integrations. The shakeout will be fast.

Who is the online food delivery market leader in the United States, abroad? How is the industry shaping up in Europe and China? How are quick service restaurants (QSRs) adopting in the new food economy? Grocery stores as the biggest disrupter? Get the full report to gain access to all the insights and data analysis, including the charts.


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