Drones will become a “feature” of the restaurant delivery market in Great Britain within five years, a respected foodservice analyst firm predicted today.
Food delivery is the restaurant industry’s fastest-growing channel, with 755 million delivery visits last year as consumers ordered breakfast, lunch and dinner to their door.
And very soon their food is likely to arrive by drone, according to global information company The NPD Group.
With restaurant operators looking at new innovations to reduce costs, expand reach and increase automation, it thinks drones are on the cusp of becoming a key fixture in the delivery battle.
The company expects UAVs to be delivering food orders by 2024, with branded drones offering a new marketing opportunity and increasing customer loyalty.
NPD analyst, Dominic Allport, said drones are likely to be more sustainable than some other forms of transport and could work just as well in rural locations as cities.
“There’s much more innovation to come from the delivery channel. Consumers will love the novelty value of receiving their food order via drones. As soon as British foodservice operators get a viable and authorised drone delivery platform, they’ll offer it to the public for appropriate foods in selected markets.”
In the past decade, foodservice delivery spend has almost doubled and is especially profitable for restaurants looking to increase business volume.
But operators are under pressure to get the formula right in terms of quality, price, freshness and speed-to-customer.
Two years ago, Costa Coffee trialled the delivery of cold beverages to customers in Dubai.