Dinner on Demand

Using social data to understand consumer opinion around new food delivery services

In the 1800s, people grew fruits and vegetables and processed their own meats. They ground spices with mortars and pestles. Families prepared meals on hearths.

That was the past.

In 2017, anyone with a smartphone and enough money in their bank account doesn’t have to farm to grow their own food. They don’t have to walk, bike, or drive to the nearest grocery or convenience store to buy food to cook or instant meals to microwave. They don’t even have to make a phone call to a restaurant. All they need to do is open an app, browse through restaurants, make their meal selections, click “order”  — and wait for their food to arrive.

Welcome to 2017, where you can get your food efficiently with minimal human contact.

UberEATS is one of the newer entrants to the food delivery space. Launched in 2014, UberEATS joins Grubhub (founded in 2004), Postmates (founded in 2011), and DoorDash (founded in 2013) as the major players in the food delivery service space. But how do consumers differentiate between the services? What aspects matter most?

We looked at the social conversation surrounding meal delivery to analyze UberEATS’ growth, other prominent players, and what customers are ordering.

Browsing the food delivery menu

Before we dive in too deep, let’s take a step back and look at how the conversation about UberEATS has grown since it launched in 2014.

 

UberEATS launched in August 2014, but conversation didn’t pick up until the beginning of 2015. The conversation rose fastest from Q2 to Q3 2016, growing four times in size. But, as the conversation has grown, has it changed? Has consumer opinion about the evolved as UnberEATS has gone mainstream?

Overall, positive sentiment (38 percent share of voice) for UberEATS outweighs negative sentiment (24 percent share of voice), and the proportion of negative to positive sentiment has stayed fairly consistent. 

Has UberEATS separated itself from the pack? How does it stack up against the other major players in the field?

Competitors can be found in the UberEATS discussion. When looking at the food delivery services most mentioned with UberEATS, Postmates dominates, with 43 percent share of voice compared to the other three most mentioned food delivery services. Following Postmates is Grubhub, comprising 32 percent share of voice. DoorDash makes up 16 percent share of voice. The least popular is Eat24, which has 10 percent share of voice.

But this breakdown is not static. Over time, as new entrants emerge, the social conversation about them has changed.

The food delivery services landscape in 2017 looks vastly different than 2014. In 2014, Grubhub dominated the conversation, with 78 percent share of voice. UberEATS had practically 0 percent share of voice. By 2017, the tables have turned. Grubhub’s share of voice shrank to 14 percent and UberEATS’ grew to 45 percent.

Does the rapid rise of UberEATS mean that the service has planted its flag in the meal-delivery catbird seat? And, perhaps more importantly, which restaurants are fueling the brand’s popularity?

Who’s in the driver’s seat?

The beauty of food delivery apps like UberEATS is the variety of options they provide to consumers, ranging from Chinese to Italian. Of course, they can also order from fast food chains, eschewing the drive-in. Naturally, chains dominate the UberEATS conversation because they can be found in multiple cities. Out of all chains, McDonald’s dominates the discussion—even though it wasn’t available on UberEATS until 2017.

When people discuss their McDonald’s UberEATS orders, some topics are more prominent than others. People order Chicken McNuggets, french fries, and sundaes. They also discuss ordering at night. Swag is also prominent in the discussion, especially since it was a core component of McDelivery with UberEATS’ promotion.

What are the demographics?

Compared to the general UberEATS-discussing population, the McDonald’s audience is more male-dominant. Males make up 57 percent of the McDonald’s on UberEATS discussion, compared to the 52 percent for the general UberEATS discussion.

The age distribution for the McDonald’s on UberEATS-discussing population differs slightly from the general UberEATS-discussing population. Two percent more fall into the 17 and below age range for McDonald’s on UberEATS. For the general UberEATS-discussing population, 5 percent more (39 percent) fall into the 18-24 age range.

As the social conversation surrounding food-delivery apps grows, some interesting trends are coming in to focus. Understanding the audiences, topics and sentiment behind this discussion is essential for food brands of all shapes and sizes. By looking at the social media conversation, we are able to track the rise of food delivery services and analyze why some restaurants like McDonald’s are more popular than others.

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