February 27, 2024 Featured Resource

Google Business Profile Changes, Delivery Drivers’ Strike, and Big Brands Invest in Tech


Google has been shaking up its online food order offerings in the past few weeks. Starting with phasing out their Order with Google feature, on July 1, which allows customers to order directly from the restaurant through Google. Customers will instead be rerouted from the restaurant’s Google Business Profile to their preferred ordering platform, whether it be a third party or the restaurant’s website. 

Detractors say removing the ordering feature, which was free to restaurants and allowed them to collect data on their customers, is a huge disservice to restaurants in a time when the big third party companies charge up to 30% in often hidden fees and disconnect customers from restaurants.

Alternatively, this move should allow for a better user experience, as Google’s ordering feature did not always allow for orders to be as streamlined or customizable as restaurants or customers liked. Smaller delivery services were also not always included as an option to complete the order.

In theory, if restaurants optimize their Google Business Profile, they should still be able to guide customers to their first party online ordering. In fact, Google also released a Google Business Profile update which requires third party delivery platforms to include a “remove provider link” for restaurants to easily disable providers they do not wish to work with.

Want to dive into the debate further? Listen to DRA advisory board members, Carl Orsbourn and Meredith Sandland weigh in on their podcast, The Digital Restaurant.

Uber, Lyft, DoorDash Strike

A Valentine’s Day strike by the big third party delivery drivers stirred hopes that more people will ask this question; How do we make the delivery ecosystem better for restaurants, consumers, and drivers alike?

Drivers from the big three delivery platforms, Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, which control 99% of the market, held a strike for better pay and work conditions. 

“A year into algorithmic pricing, drivers have seen incredible decrease of our pay… whatever calculations and algorithms they’re using, it’s absolutely useless,” Nicole Moore, president of the California-based Rideshare Drivers United union, according to NBC News and Reuters..

This strike is representative of broader issues the industry is facing – restaurants, customers and drivers are all being taken advantage of by the platforms’ imbalance of power. Restaurant owners pay egregious fees to participate in these pay-to-play marketplaces because on average 30% of their business is taking place on them. Consumers also pay high fees and do not see the additional hidden fees being charged to restaurants. Consumers think delivery is expensive, and so assume that restaurants and drivers are being paid fairly since the fees are so high. Which brings us full circle, it seems the only party winning in the delivery ecosystem is big delivery apps. It is time for change so we can create a sustainable model that benefits everyone.

McDonald’s & Yum Invest Aggressively in Tech

A recurrent and unsurprising theme is continuing to play out by some of the industry’s biggest brands: digital transformation continues to drive company growth.

At the close of last year, we predicted off-premise innovation would continue to dominate the tech landscape, and Yum! Brands is proving that to be the case.

 “Yum! Brands generated $30 billion in system sales last year through its digital channels, which include mobile and web ordering, delivery and kiosks. That’s 45% of the company’s total system sales last year,” according to Restaurant Business.

As the largest global restaurant chain, it’s a given that McDonald’s is also aggressively investing in technology from the customers fingertips to the back of house. In 2023, the restaurant’s loyalty app generated $20 billion in online sales alone. They also have plans to transform the in-store customer experience with more self-service kiosks, AI driven customization, and digital menu boards. McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said that they plan to “put the most intuitive technology in the hands of our restaurant teams” as they continue to transform digitally.

The fast pace of change in restaurant technology can be overwhelming, but this strategy seems approachable – give your people and customers tech that makes for a more convenient and positive brand experience.