Rapid delivery: How tech and drinks can turbocharge sales

Foodservice is in the grip of a technological revolution. As diners draw in their belts in response to the cost-of-living crisis, eating in has become the new dining out, but rapid delivery apps and social media are helping savvy operators not just survive but thrive in this climate. Here’s how you can do the same…

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One thing’s become crystal clear during foodservice’s recent trials: people still want treats, even when times are tough. In fact, more people feel the need for treats precisely because times are tough. The big difference to more prosperous times, however, is that value for money is of greater importance.

Hence the decline in dining out and growth in Big Nights In. Spend in restaurants sank by 10.8% in September, the greatest month-on-month loss in a year marked by falling revenues.[1] Spend through rapid delivery apps, meanwhile, is rising as people look to recreate restaurant experiences at home.

Foodservice delivery is expected to grow by 7.8% to hit a value of £14.4bn this year. If this happens, 11.9% of foodservice revenue will be via delivery by the end of 2023. That’s a 4.8% point rise in share since 2019, driven by fast food, as well as bakery, coffee and sandwiches (albeit from a smaller base).[2]

All this has consequences on the sorts of drinks people want from foodservice. It also presents operators with opportunities to appeal to value-orientated consumers and drive growth in spend, profits and order frequency. So how can Sensational Drinks help operators cash in on the rapid delivery boom?

Meal deals deliver better value

Value for money has become paramount for consumers in the wake of the pandemic. The cost-of-living crisis had become the number one concern for 60% of people in Britain by the end of last year[3] and, as inflation continues to bite, most people are still thinking long and hard before ordering meals online.  

Meal deals have become a crucial tool for operators looking to increase their share of rapid delivery. KFC has been particularly active, partnering with Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats and promoting competitive meal deals featuring Pepsi MAX® and 7UP soft drinks through the apps and via social media.

All this is helping KFC corner the rapid delivery market. By the end of this year, 37% of KFC’s revenue in the UK is expected to be coming from rapid delivery, the greatest proportion of any major branded fast-food player and up a staggering 26% points on 2019’s share.[4]

It’s not alone in using meal deals online, of course. Rapid delivery is expected to account for 7% of Greggs’ 2023 revenue, up from just 1% in 2019[5]. The operator pairs drinks with pizza slices every afternoon and with BBQ Bites on late night deals to appeal to diners at different times of day.


Broader drinks ranges broaden appeal

Lockdowns may now be a distant memory, but people are still spending much more time at home than they were before the pandemic. Indeed, the average UK worker spends an average of 1.5 days a week working from home, up from 0.9 in 2019. That makes Britain Europe’s remote working capital.[6]

This is increasing demand for rapid delivered food and drinks at lunch, breakfast and outside traditional mealtimes. Providing a wider range of drinks carefully paired with food items can help foodservice operators stay relevant throughout the day.

Caffé Nero, for example, has teamed up with Just Eat to offer rapid deliveries from 400 of its outlets across the UK. The operator offers link deals on Plenish Health Shots, coffees and breakfast items to appeal to health-conscious customers in the morning.

The rise of fast-food operator Clean Kitchen Club, which offers breakfast smoothies and acai bowls as well as a sumptuous array plant-based lunch and dinner dishes for delivery from its five London outlets, proves there’s an appetite for health-orientated food and drinks on delivery too.

Consider, therefore, offering Aqua Libra seltzers or Purdey’s Natural Energy drinks on deals with salads and lighter dishes to appeal to those who want to order in healthier lunches. Likewise, offering attractive non-alcoholic drinks pairings at night can appeal to the growing numbers who don’t drink alcohol. 

Social media trends offer lucrative opportunities

Tapping into social media trends and the huge power of online influencers can also pay. For example, YouTuber Mr Beast, who has 198m YouTube subscribers, is offering operators the opportunity to produce Mr Beast Burger products in their kitchens and sell them exclusively via rapid delivery services.

Pairing Mr Beast’s US style smashed burger patty and crispy tender chicken sandwiches with seasoned crinkle fries and refreshing drinks such as Pepsi MAX®, Tango and 7UP is a sure-fire way to attract a younger, more affluent and engaged clientele.

Bear in mind too that the new generation spends more time online than any other age group.[7] Following social media consumer trends – which have helped ginger, turmeric and matcha drinks become more mainstream in recent years – and tailoring delivered menus accordingly can deliver big dividends. 

To find out more about how foodservice operators can capitalise on the boom in rapid delivery, download the 2023 Britvic Soft Drinks Review here.

[1] Barclays:


[3] Consumer Confidence GFK – December 2021 v December 2022

[4] Lumina Intelligence, Food to Go report, February 2023

[5] Britvic SDR Report Foodservice 2023


[7] Britvic Soft Drinks Review 2023

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