The Challenges of Delivering A Burger

The Lempert Report
March 01, 2017

It goes well beyond just delivering foods on time and getting the order right.

Nick Green, head of sales for Deliveroo, a U.K.-based app that connects users to restaurants that wouldn’t normally deliver, probably stays up at night worrying about the food itself. 

“A burger is a relatively fragile thing. It’s a stack of stuff, and you’ve got to be quite careful with it,” Green told the Wall Street Journal. With condiments like truffle butter, veal jus, slabs of bacon and soft pretzel buns, fast-casual and higher-end restaurants have elevated the burger and Deliveroo and others are challenged by the obstacles of getting them to your door with the bun, patty and toppings just right. And tasty. 

Deliveroo uses some bicycle riders to transport food from restaurants to users. The SJ reports that given the difficulties of keeping food warm and intact on a bicycle journey, the company’s delivery boxes include detailed instructions about how to pack and carry food on two wheels. Packaging is a central focus for Deliveroo and the restaurants it works with. What works best, Green says, is the corrugated cardboard box which is small and sturdy and have small air vents to prevent overheating. “The challenge is you want it to stay warm, but not to keep cooking and steaming itself,” he says. Boxes that are completely sealed can result in soggy food. The average time for them to deliver is 30 minutes. 

Deliveroo says burgers are among the top three cuisines in 90% of over 110 cities where it operates in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Burgers are big business in the UK and here in the US. On GrubHub, the average price per burger is $9.52 in New York, $9.44 in Los Angeles and $8.40 in Dallas.