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The Washington Post has a story about the restaurant food delivery business - booming right now, and a $43 billion business with some expectations that it could almost double in the next five years.

But it is also a business with the persistent challenge of maintaining quality - or heat, or warmth, or cold - of certain products that simply “don’t naturally travel well.”

“Anything that pairs wet and dry ingredients -- such as soft-shell tacos, loaded gyros or avocado toast -- risks getting soggy in transit,” the story says. “Restaurants and delivery services have also struggled with hot, crispy foods, such as grilled sandwiches, thin-crust pizza and french fries -- the white whale of delivery. The insulation that keeps these foods warm while they travel also locks in steam, risking sogginess and overcooking.”

Since “most restaurants lack the infrastructure and logistical expertise” to develop the expertise to deal with such issues themselves, and most that have engaged in delivery services have outsourced the job to companies such as DoorDash, GrubHub, Caviar, UberEats, and Foodler. These companies are having to develop processes and logistics that allow them to be more effective in growing their own and their clients’ businesses.

“GrubHub recommends,” for example, “that Neapolitan pizzas spend seven more minutes in the oven crisping when they’re being delivered, for instance. And Caviar has designed instructional stickers to help customers reassemble foods such as pho and ramen. The company also swears by stand-up to-go cups for fries -- clamshells are essentially a Styrofoam steamer … On top of the emphasis on packaging, delivery services have also invested heavily in their logistics technology: algorithms designed to improve the timing of delivery pickups and minimize how long it takes a driver to get from point A to B.”
KC's View:
As much as I like e-commerce, I have to admit that I really don’t like ordering a lot of restaurant food to go, mostly because of the quality issue. The exceptions are pizza and Chinese food … and mostly I prefer going to pick it up myself because it gives me greater control over quality and timing.