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Jimmy John's rebellion against Uber Eats and other food delivery programs



Sandwich maker Jimmy John's position as the first national restaurant chain to release the public against third-party delivery programs such as Uber Eats, GrubHub and Door Dash. The company unveiled a new marketing campaign Thursday where it promises never to use delivery applications, calling them notoriously unreliable and promising itself to create an industry trend.

"We want to control the experience from the fresh prep at hand to the customer," said James North, CEO of Jimmy John, in a statement.

Food delivery has exploded into a multibillion dollar industry in recent years, thanks to the increasing popularity of apps like Uber Eats and GrubHub. The third $ 13 billion food supply market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 13.5 percent, but Jimmy John says customers are left behind.

The sandwich chain commissioned a Boston Consulting survey to measure public opinion on third-party apps, and the results were less than favorable.

Thirty-five percent of customers who have used such delivery services say they have experienced a problem with their deliveries. Seventeen six percent hold the restaurant itself partly responsible for any errors. Ninety-two percent of customers expect food deliveries within 15 to 30 minutes after ordering, while the largest delivery services have an average delivery time of 49 minutes.

Having identified his enemy, Jimmy John is now planning to explicitly market himself as an anti-delivery app sandwich shop. The company puts up billboards and posts videos showing online tweets from dissatisfied customers to third-party food vendors. The message is that Jimmy Johns uses his own drivers and couriers – the company, along with its franchisees, uses about 45,000 drivers in over 2800 locations – to deliver their "freaky fresh" sandwiches.

It may be a good look for a marketing campaign, but Jimmy Johns could potentially miss big profits by backing on delivery applications. Take McDonald's, for example: the mega chain has delivered since 2017, when it launched a partnership with Uber Eats. According to a recent earnings call, 19,000 McDonald's restaurants offer global delivery, making it a $ 3 billion business for both international and domestic stores. CEO Steve Easterbook noted that the company will give the delivery a "high priority" in 2019.

And today, Taco Bell announced the launch of nationwide delivery through GrubHub and a limited time free Delivery for orders $ 12 or more. The fast food chain said the service was "designed for an even faster experience" by integrating its sales point system into the GrubHub mobile food ordering app.

Meanwhile, delivery applications are developing to better meet the needs of their two customer bases: users and restaurants. Uber Eats, for example, recently began allowing some restaurants in New York City and Manchester, England, to use their own in-house delivery workers, instead of Uber's workforce of freelancers and chains.

Food delivery is incredibly difficult and intensively competitive. Several food deliveries have started in recent years. That said, it may prove unpleasant for Uber Eats and GrubHub's respective growth plans if other restaurants follow Jimmy John's leadership. As the delivery apps appear to grow into less dense, more suburban communities, they need to work with the major national chains that usually exist there. And that means we are addressing complaints about quality and efficiency.


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