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TECHNOLOGY | Kevin Santos, Australia
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Menulog, Deliveroo and Uber Eats continue to bank on data-driven personalisation, variety as Australia's ordering and delivery market grows

Consumers are increasingly seeking convenient, high-quality restaurant food within the growing delivery space.

Artificial intelligence, personalised menus, and restaurants with healthier options will play key roles in the forecasted and continued growth of the online food ordering and delivery platforms industry, Australia’s biggest third-party aggregators told QSR Media.

Menulog, now comprised of more than 12,000 restaurant partners, indicated that one of their core initiatives to improve customer experience this year is leveraging data and machine learning to help customers navigate options.

“As we continue to provide customers a greater range of choice, a key challenge is to maintain the ease and simplicity of online ordering, whilst demonstrating a wide range of options. So, by using data and machine learning, we can personalise the customer experience,” Menulog ANZ managing director Alistair Venn said.

The food delivery company is also working on a new recommendations platform, allowing customers to get suggestions on local restaurants or dishes.

“The role of online ordering technology is to enable this convenience by aggregating options and providing greater selection in a central location, while helping customers to navigate the choice available. It is for this reason that personalisation is a key focus for Menulog in 2019; to be able to curate the range of choice available,” Venn added.

Seeing significant developments in eating trends, Deliveroo is also working on personalised choices for their users.

“With so many options for consumers to access their favourite foods through online food delivery, we’re seeing a shift towards consumers increasingly eating at home with friends and family,” Deliveroo Australia country manager Levi Aron explained. “We’re meeting this shift by working on offering more personalized choices, such as recommendations based on their order history and what time of day they are ordering.”

Currently with almost 10,000 restaurants, Deliveroo Australia says they experienced continued triple digit growth in 2018 after their jumping by 350% in 2017. Aron notes that number of restaurants on the platform are up over 150% whilst rider numbers are up over 50% too.

Their innovations and increasing selection throughout the day, he explains, helped create different food occasions alongside the traditional three dayparts.

“There’s now approximately eight occasions throughout the day when people are ordering. The way people are approaching food has completely changed and customer frequency has been the strongest metric across the board,” Aron said.

Uber Eats, which entered the Australian market on 2016, says the industry’s growth has been “immense” and “shows no signs of slowing.”

“There are 21 meals in a week for us to go after, which means healthy, affordable options need to be on offer for us to build this habit amongst consumers,” Uber Eats regional general manager for ANZ Jodie Auster said. “We also want to break the guilt associated with ordering in and allow consumers to order the food they want without compromising on quality.”

To make that a reality, Auster said that they prefer to partner with restaurants that can offer the widest variety of meals, at an affordable price for consumers.

(Also read: An “incredibly synergistic” partnership: how QSRs can maximise profits from delivery services)

Delivery industry to continue growth through 2023-24
IbisWorld forecasted the industry’s growth to slow in 2018-19, increasing by 26.1%, partly attributing it to Foodora’s exit last August 2018. However, ongoing strong demand for quick and convenient food options, due to increasingly time-poor lifestyles, is anticipated to continue bolstering demand for industry platforms over the next five years.

Specifically, revenue is forecasted to grow at an annualised 15.4% over the five years through 2023-24, to be worth $570.3 million.

“Australian consumers are leading increasingly busy lifestyles. As they seek to increase their leisure time, many consumers are substituting home-cooked meals for takeaway meals. The convenience of online or application-based food ordering allows industry operators to derive significant benefit from this trend,” IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst James Caldwell explained.

“Real household incomes have risen over the past five years. This has boosted the amount of money consumers have to spend on luxuries, such as takeaway meals.”

In terms of further growth opportunities, Caldwell said that food delivery services have yet to fully capitalise on regional areas within the country. Their report did note Uber Eats’ earlier launch in Ballarat, VIC in June and July of 2018, respectively.

“Expansion into regional Australia is a relatively untapped market for many providers of food delivery services. While demand in regional population centres is lower than in Australia’s capital cities, there is opportunity for growth in these locations,” he said.

Unequivocally, the growing demand for healthier options in restaurants is thoroughly expected in the delivery space.

“Delivery services have traditionally been associated with lower-quality, and unhealthy foods, such as pizza and low-quality Chinese and Indian foods. However, Australian consumers are increasingly demanding high-quality foods from restaurants. Food delivery companies have allowed consumers to access foods from a number of higher-quality establishments, with healthier foods options, which have not traditionally been offered by delivery service operators,” Caldwell concluded.

Photo credit: Uber Eats

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