With the ever-increasing availability and appeal of ready-to-eat foods, meal kit services, and online grocery shopping, consumers’ expectation levels of food is synonymous with fast.  While we’re not quite ready for robotic food deliveries, we can say with confidence that foodservice operators are embracing this fast-paced, tech-driven world, one app at a time.

While less than 10 percent of companies offer the mobile order-ahead feature today, Researcher Crone Consulting estimates that in five years 50% of all sales at quick-service chains will be placed digitally before the customer ever steps on the premises.

When you find yourself in one of these ‘time is of the essence’ scenarios, just know you can count on one of these foodservice operations:

  • When you have the wine flu and don’t want to leave your couch: McDonald’s – The fast food giant is partnering with UberEATS to deliver their beloved Big Macs from over 1,000 locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Columbus, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami. As McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said, “We are bringing a new level of convenience to more of our customers as we continue to transform the McDonald’s experience.”
  • When you’re decked out in your “derelict” attire and don’t want to run into someone you know: Buffalo Wild Wings – After witnessing its delivery orders averaging 30% larger than on-premise tabs, the wing chain is now considering locations dedicated solely to delivery and take-out, without any interference with table service and dine-in customers. The chain hopes this new initiative will improve their reach and market share, as they’ve found that their number one barrier to dining-in is a nearby location for customers. Bringing the meal to them is one way to boost sales.
  • When your alarm doesn’t go off, you’re an hour late for work but you still need your Triple, Venti, Soy, No Foam Latte: Starbucks – The coffee mogul’s ‘Mobile Order & Go’ allows caffeine-addicts the flexibility to order ahead, pay and pick-up with no lines or fuss. While their mobile ordering has been around since 2015, the results are now beginning to show. In their last quarter, mobile orders represented at least 20 percent of sales during peak traffic times at nearly 1,200 Starbucks stores. In fact, the coffee chain’s order-ahead apps drove 7 percent of all transactions last quarter, doubling the figure a year earlier.
  •  When all your household necessities run out at the same time, there’s no food in the fridge at 7pm and you have a car full of hangry kids: Wal-Mart – Oh yes, the giant retailer is rolling out curbside pickup of online grocery orders to 500 additional U.S. stores this year. Wal-Mart took a page from other food pick-up concepts like McDonald’s and dedicated a small area of its parking lot for pick-ups only. Easy, convenient and fast.

Chick-Fil-A, Red Robin, Chili’s, TGI Friday’s and others are also jumping on the digital, curbside delivery service bandwagon. Michael Whiteman, president of Baum + Whiteman, even crowned 2017 as the year of the “delivery revolution.”

As a diner, do you find yourself ordering curbside delivery more? Do you like your food fast with a side of technology? As a marketer, will this shift in behavior affect how you may market to these consumers? Share your thoughts on the future of our food!