CHICAGO – The doorsteps of hungry consumers are no longer monopolized by pizza-toting delivery drivers, as third-party food delivery services are growing in popularity by offering other dining options. According to a new report from Mintel, a market research firm, urban-dwelling, male millennials are among the fastest-growing segment of consumers utilizing third-party food delivery companies. While only about 12 percent of Americans surveyed reported using third-party delivery in the past three months, 87 percent of those who did use the services report the advantages include convenience and use the service at least twice a week (31 percent).

Some of the hurdles to growth include perceptions that delivery fees are too high (27 percent of respondents) and they are avoiding this by ordering directly from the restaurant. However, the majority of non-users of third-party deliveries prefer dining out because of the enjoyment of going out to eat. According to Mintel, 65 percent of restaurant delivery users believe it is more fun to dine out vs. dining in.

Age is another factor when it comes to increasing the number of consumers willing to use third-party delivery services. Among non-users of the services, 53 percent of those over the age of 55 say nothing would motivate them to try delivery compared to just 11 percent of their younger counterparts, aged 18-24.

“Delivery cannot compete with the entire restaurant experience, but third-party companies can work at increasing the incidence of restaurant delivery by highlighting the benefits of having food delivered directly to the consumer,” said Caleb Bryant, foodservice analyst at Mintel. 

Bryant added that the hurdles to growth in third-party delivery of food are not insurmountable and technology can help in that growth, even among older diners.

“Older consumers tend to dine out less frequently than other age groups,” Bryant said. “As such, these consumers may view going out to eat as a more special occasion, not as something to just have at home, while younger consumers tend to be very open to at least trying restaurant delivery services.

Third-party restaurant delivery services must assuage consumer doubts and concerns over delivery by convincing them that online and mobile delivery are faster, more convenient options, and by offering deals and incentives to encourage trial,” he said.