Overcoming The Driver Shortage: How Restaurants Can Maintain Self-Delivery Without Hiring More Drivers

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With a shortfall of over 450,000 jobs from pre-pandemic levels, the restaurant industry has the largest employment deficit among all industries in the United States. 

As a result, restaurant operators are struggling to meet the rising demand for food delivery due to a delivery driver shortage. For restaurants looking to maintain the self-delivery model without the burden of trying to hire and retain more delivery staff or turning exclusively to third-party fulfillment – delivery management software is the solution.


Self-delivery risks and solving fulfillment issues

The growing demand for delivery, lack of employment benefits & tips, and increases in fuel prices have led to the driver shortage. 

As a direct consequence, restaurants are struggling to fulfill orders and deliver on time. This results in lost revenue and disappointed customers leaving bad reviews. The self-delivery model has many advantages. Being able to fully control the entire delivery process (including service levels & compliance) is one of them. 

Another reason why restaurants prefer the self-delivery model is the ability to save on high third-party delivery fees. However, self-delivery also has its drawbacks, particularly with regard to finding, hiring, and retaining delivery drivers. These challenges can be both time-consuming and costly. This is especially true when we take into account factors such as insurance costs, driver scheduling, and ensuring a steady workload.

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Restaurants looking to fulfill all of their delivery demand without taking on more hiring risks are turning to technology solutions. The reason for this shift is directly linked to the capabilities and opportunities that delivery management software provides. 

Now, restaurant owners are able to set custom rules that will automatically redirect excess delivery orders to a third-party fleet during times of peak demand, or when the restaurant’s in-house team reaches capacity. 

This hybrid model is a win-win for restaurants. It removes the need to hire more drivers while increasing order fulfillment rates. This solution can help operators fulfill 100% of their orders, avail of the most competitive third-party delivery fees on the market, and regain full visibility over their delivery orders – regardless of the fleet used. 

Low-cost delivery

The labor shortage has left restaurants with very limited, margin-eroding options when it comes to delivery. They can either choose to halt their delivery services, attempt to hire additional delivery drivers, or rely solely on marketplace delivery and take a huge revenue hit. 

However, many operators are unaware that there is a fourth option – outsourcing orders to a third-party delivery provider or marketplace fleet at a significantly discounted rate. By partnering with multiple delivery service providers, delivery management software can help restaurants to secure low-cost third-party delivery fees in order to generate more off-premise revenue. 

Features such as order stacking can also help operators minimize the number of trips required by drivers when 2 or more orders are due to be delivered to similar locations. This helps to reduce the total cost of delivery even further by charging a single delivery fee for multiple order fulfillment. Once again keeping delivery costs to a minimum for operators while also resolving the driver shortage issue.

How can outsourcing delivery help operators regain control?

Restaurants offering self-delivery do not want to turn to marketplace fulfillment during a labor crisis. This is due to their ever-increasing delivery fees. 

Frustratingly, operators also have no control over orders fulfilled by marketplace fleets once they leave the restaurant. This lack of visibility often results in a bad delivery experience for the end customer and negative online reviews for the restaurant.

Having the same level of visibility that is captured with self-delivery over orders fulfilled by third-party fleets is possible with the right delivery management provider. This will enable your restaurant to capture the what, when, how, and why of delivery orders fulfilled by third-party and marketplace fleets. The outcome is the elimination of concerns regarding the driver shortage coupled with improved & consistent service levels for your restaurant’s delivery orders.

To sum up, the driver shortage will persist for the foreseeable future. If restaurants wish to continue operating a self-delivery model without having to hire more delivery drivers or pay expensive third-party delivery fees, the adoption of technology is vital. 

As many as 50% of U.S. restaurant operators are planning to implement automation technology in the next 2–3 years to address staffing shortages. Therefore now is the right time to search for a provider that can fulfill your delivery requirements.


If you’re an operator looking to minimize driver employment risks, avail of discounted third-party delivery rates, and maintain full visibility over orders fulfilled by marketplace fleets, visit our website

  • Atosa USA
  • McKee Foodservice Sunbelt Bakery
  • RAK Porcelain
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  • RATIONAL USA
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  • Easy Ice
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  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Cuisine Solutions
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