Food Delivery Apps Spark Frustration

Consumers more likely to complain to restaurants if they have issues with experience
A food delivery handoff

While food delivery apps such as Grubhub and Uber Eats can bring convenience to the takeout industry, many consumers say the apps in general are falling short.

Market research firm Zion & Zion conducted a survey of 1,084 consumers to rate their satisfaction with food delivery apps and websites. It found that the delivery process doesn’t always go so smoothly.

Consumers have issues with the apps or websites nearly a quarter (24.4%) of the time they order, according to the survey. Among the most common problems experienced by consumers:

  • The food was too cold or too warm
  • The delivery time was unacceptable
  • The meal had missing or incorrect items

Survey results show that some consumers were disappointed with their delivery experience more than once. When asked what percentage of time they experienced the following problems, respondents said:

  • Food was the wrong temperature 28.4% of the time
  • Food was unacceptably late 27.5% of the time
  • A side dish was missing or incorrect 21.4% of the time
  • A main dish was missing or incorrect 20.9% of the time

Of those consumers who experienced problems with their orders, 51% said they were “very frustrated.” However, frustration appears to increase with age, as 46.9% of millennials (those ages 22 to 38) reported being very frustrated by food delivery problems, compared with 61.2% of those 39 and older.

The frustration level varies depending on the problem, according to survey responses. Consumers were most likely to say they were “very frustrated” when a side dish was missing or incorrect, with 58.2% feeling this way. That was followed by:

  • 56.1% who felt very frustrated when a main dish was missing or incorrect
  • 50% who felt very frustrated when food arrived unacceptably late
  • 38.7% who felt very frustrated when food arrived at the wrong temperature

Restaurants appear to bear the brunt of consumer dissatisfaction, as consumers were more likely to complain to the restaurant than to the food delivery app or website. In fact, 40.3% of respondents said they were “very likely” to complain to the restaurant about the delivery problem, while only 31.4% of respondents said they were very likely to complain to the app.

Looking at consumers ages 39 and older, 56.3% said they were very likely to complain to the restaurant if they had a problem, versus 36.5% who were very likely to complain to the delivery app. In comparison, 34.2% of millennial respondents said they were very likely complain to the restaurant, while 30.8% said they were very likely to complain to the delivery app.

If you eat prepared meals often, whether you use food delivery apps or go to restaurants, make sure you’re not overspending. To get an idea of how your spending stacks up, compare it to the average food budget for other consumers. If you do dine out a lot, you may want to take advantage of a credit card that offers rewards for doing so.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

Comments and Questions