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Delivery Apps in the World of Food Service

by Sysco LABS Articles 4 June 2018

We’ve all been there; craving food, we call our favorite restaurant, place an order, and then wait… and wait… and wait… checking our watch wondering, where our food is… and then finally the doorbell rings, you pay for your food, and you dig in. If you break down this process, it’s pretty simple; the call is answered in a call center, which then places the order in the branch closest to the delivery address, which then prepares the food and dispatches it.  

But imagine that scenario for a restaurant. You’re a restaurant owner in New York, you need ingredients that take a very long time to produce and often have to travel far to reach you, and you need them in a timely fashion to keep your business going. The process of serving that need is a far more complex one. It involves foodservices companies working together with farms to sources ingredients, store them in temperature-controlled warehouses, dispatch them around the country to be held in intermediate regional storage facilities, and finally dispatching them to the restaurants upon receiving the order.  

It is critical for the business of restaurants to have their ingredients delivered on time. However, unlike personal food deliveries, bulk deliveries like these have many complications; often restaurants need to be served during a single delivery run, a lot of time is taken at each of the restaurants to handle the large-scale orders and deliveries that need to happen when the restaurant is closed or during low traffic times.  

So today, foodservice companies are looking at how technology can be employed to create apps that allow restaurant owners to stay informed about their order at every stage of the delivery process. 

An app which can track your order from the time it’s made, till it arrives at the restaurant would be the ideal solution. Since the order detail information is already in the app, it can also have other features such as storing invoices or managing return orders. One way in which this can be done is to have a microservices architecture.  

The only external device this app would need is a GPS Tracker. The tracker would send its location to an API such as Telogis (a Fleet Management platform that provides location-based services). Integrating Salesforce to the app would add an extra dimension; it would not only provide the app with useful customer information, but could also work to store valuable data, such as average wait time a customer has before they receive the order. 

The ideal workflow for this app would be as follows: 

Once an order is confirmed the customer can log onto the app and track their order. The app will provide location details to the customer periodically and give them estimated time frames for when they can expect their order to arrive. And the restaurant operator is notified of arrival once an order is within the geo fence of the restaurant. 

This will reduce the need to constantly call the delivery agents, help them to plan better and ease their anxiety. In a world where businesses are trying to eke out every competitive advantage possible, foodservice companies that holistically support their restaurants’ success are a step above simple ingredient suppliers. Predicting customer needs and giving them all the information needed to make business critical decisions is real competitive advantage, not just for you, but your customer as well.  

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