At least one New York City-based barbecue restaurant chain would prefer that its customers enjoy their sweet corn fritters, chicken wings, and the chain’s famous “brontosaurus” ribs in one of its local restaurants instead of having the food delivered. After all, says one of the chain’s restaurant managers, “it’s a much better experience, and the food is hotter and better when it doesn’t have to travel for 15 minutes. However, if they want it delivered, we deliver.”

Well, more and more people do want their food delivered. According to the market research organization NPD Group, in the past five years, revenue from restaurant deliveries jumped 20 percent, and the overall number of deliveries increased 10 percent.

And it’s not just dinner. NPD also found that the number of quick-service breakfast and lunch deliveries have increased by 13 percent from 2012 to 2017.

According to one New York eatery, when they partnered with an online food ordering and delivery service, “our first day online, our business tripled.”

Against this backdrop, chains such as Panera Bread and Applebee’s are now ramping up food deliveries in more of their locations—many for the first time. They are aware of the trend and want to hop on board before they are left behind.

What we have here is a major evolution of the foodservice industry that has sprung up in the past decade and is now blossoming. But, why are consumers ordering more takeout? The reasons are many and varied, but for the most part, it comes down to these:

Clothes. Many people change into more comfortable outfits as soon as they get home from work. Visiting a restaurant means getting dressed up again—which they prefer not to do.

Convenience. Many home food delivery orders are made while people are commuting, whether by car, train, or bus. This way the food is waiting for them as soon as they get home.

Credit. While cash is going out of style, food delivery services make it easy to order with credit cards and many store credit card numbers for future orders. This can make the entire buying process easier than paying in person.

Plan B. Sometimes recipes just don’t turn out as well as expected. Ordering online is a fast and efficient Plan B.

The Other Blossoming Industry

As so often happens, the growth of one industry results in the development of other industries, and one that has witnessed a lot of growth in the past couple of years is the development of tamper-evident labels.

The food industry, from food processing to quick service, is very familiar with what is called tamper-resistant packaging. The 1983 Tylenol incident in which containers were tampered with, resulting in seven deaths, sent shock waves throughout the consumer products industry, including foodservice.

This led to the development of all types of tamper-resistant packaging, from the crates in which consumer products are packaged and delivered to retailers to the individual containers in which they are sold.

However, tamper-evident labels are different. Placed on food delivery packaging materials, they are not meant to keep people out. Instead, they serve to alert consumers of a potential problem. If the label is broken, consumers know the contents inside have likely been tampered with.

While we cannot point to any one reason or situation that has triggered the development and growth of the tamper-evident label industry, the recent spate of videos showing pizza delivery personnel eating the toppings off their customers’ soon-to-be delivered pizza has undoubtedly played a role. Security cameras captured most of these videos as they were happening.

Label Product Selection

As more and more manufacturers introduce tamper-evident labels, those in the quick-service industry need to know what to look for before making a product selection. One of the most important things is to make sure the label will adhere to virtually any type of packaging material. Food items are now delivered in traditional cardboard boxes, styrofoam, plastic, paper bags, glass, and more. And new packaging materials may be introduced in the future.

To ensure the label is effective, it should have what are called “security slits.” These are cuts on the surface of the label that tear if someone attempts to open the container, making it obvious the package has been opened.

And last, as with any food label, tamper-resistant labels offer marketers an opportunity. Restaurants should look for labels that can be used to provide date coding, company logos, taglines, web addresses and phone numbers, as well as other customized information.

Jill Carte is with DayMark Safety Systems, manufacturers of a wide variety of products designed to enhance food preparation and safety, including menu management systems. She can be reached at
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