The food sector has always experienced a constant evolution. Customers’ needs change and so does the offer, organized to meet them in the best possible way. The acceleration of the digitalization process during the pandemic impacted all sectors and the food industry was no exception. The way people interact with food has changed dramatically, with a growing number of consumers still choosing to enjoy restaurant meals at home. The combination of these elements is reshaping the food and beverage landscape in such a quick and defined way that some of the trends that emerged in the last few years are now due to last.

Pivotal to the success of this new scenario is the presence of riders: although their name has become popular in the food sector in recent years, they have been around for a long time. Apparently, the very first food delivery took place in Naples back in 1889, when King Umberto I of Italy and the Queen Margherita of Savoy commanded a pizza to the chef Raffaele Esposito, who therefore became the first rider to deliver food.

Mainly employed by private delivery companies, riders rapidly went from being mere “porters” to become an essential asset for any business in the food sector, as the figures confirm. The past year has seen the food delivery industry boom, doubling its predicted growth rate. The global online food delivery market is now worth $126.91 billion and it is expected to reach $192.16 billion in 2025. If it is safe to say that online food delivery will continue to grow thanks to the changed eating habits of customers, it also true that restaurateurs need to surf this wave if they wish to thrive in the “new normal”. As stated by Deliverect in a recent report, “the restaurant of the future will be built with two doors – one door for in-person customers and one for riders to come in and pick up orders, without having to disturb the customers”.

If integration of services is fundamental to update the traditional way of running a restaurant, when it comes to facing innovative competitors new, smarter solutions are required. The pressure on traditional restaurants now mainly comes from the so-called “dark kitchens”, restaurants that do not sell on their premises as they have no front of house for customers. Their business model reduces overheads, allows the owner to experiment new menus faster and therefore target multiple customer segments. Lowering costs also means being able to pay higher commissions to delivery platforms which, in turn, feature dark kitchens more prominently in their apps. A virtuous circle that adds concern to the already worried restaurant owners.

Even though sit-in dining is making a comeback as the pandemic wanes, dark kitchens are still one of the hottest industry segments: a market research firm Euromonitor recently estimated that they could be a $1trn business by 2030. Illuminated restaurateurs, who have already implemented omnichannel technology in their businesses, should be able to see dark kitchens as an opportunity and choose to integrate their on-premises facilities with remote locations dedicated exclusively to delivery.

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About Alifood

About Alifood

We strongly believe that everything we plan and do should create value, for both our clients and suppliers. We do not see ourselves as mere food traders.

The sale of the products we select is just the last step of a complex, structured process that is based on strong business relationships and, in many cases, real partnerships. Our job is made of several functions: sourcing the right product, selecting a reliable producer, managing the entire logistics chain, providing all the necessary documentation and certifications and following up all the after-sale requirements besides consulting and tutoring on how to best use each single product. We do all this because we strongly believe that everything we plan and do should create value, for both our clients and suppliers. Our familiarity with the Italian food an agricultural industry, developed over the last twenty years, gives us the ability to efficiently deal with all the diverse needs pertaining to different markets.

Thanks to our experienced, professional and multilingual global working team, matching international demand and local supply is what we do best.

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