Sense360: Restaurant Delivery Apps Do Not Cannibalize In-Store Visits

Sense360, a data insights firm focused on offline customer journeys, released its new reportImpact of Third Party Delivery Apps on Restaurant Visits, which found no significant decrease in restaurant visits and in-store orders from customers who have downloaded third-party delivery apps. The findings come as the topic of third-party delivery continues to gain attention from restaurant operators and investors alike, who have questioned whether partnering with an outside delivery service could cannibalize in-restaurant orders and potentially cause a negative impact on same store sales.
Sense360 tracked more than 21 million anonymous FSR and QSR visits to measure visit frequency both before and after downloading third-party delivery apps such as UberEats, GrubHub and Postmates and found there is no evidence that delivery apps drive significant, short-term drops in visitation.  In one example, upon analysis of McDonald’s customers who downloaded the UberEats app during the brand’s delivery test pilot in participating Florida DMAs, Sense360 found that McDonald’s did not experience any noticeable visitation decrease among the UberEats users.
In fact, the Company found that the unique visitation patterns of delivery app users are most often driven by extrinsic characteristics, such as geographic locations, persona and socioeconomic characteristics, more than the apps themselves.  For instance, people with delivery apps installed on their phones are more likely to live in top metro areas such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.  They tend to be of higher income, and visit fine dining restaurants two-and-half times more frequently, as well as slightly more visits to grocery stores, than consumers who do not use delivery apps. 
Key findings of the Sense360 Report include:
  • No significant short-term change in restaurant visit frequency among customers after they have installed a third party delivery app.
  • Consumers with delivery apps installed on their phone go out to QSR and Fast Casual Restaurants five percent less than people without delivery apps.
  • Delivery apps are more popular and oft-used by consumers in top metro areas including New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • Those who download delivery apps tend to be of higher income, and visit fine dining restaurants two-and-half times more frequently than those without a delivery app.
  • Delivery app users who frequent QSRs tend to visit newer and higher-priced concepts such as Chipotle and Starbucks more often than traditional quick-serve locations such as McDonalds or Hardees.

At the core of Sense360’s research is its mobile sensor technology, which collects anonymous, always-on location and survey data from a panel of two million consumers, enabling the Company to observe where, how and when people interact with physical locations and businesses, without compromising consumer privacy. By understanding the visits of millions of consumers in the real world, Sense360 provides restaurants the ability to measure against key metrics and benchmarks, identify their core personas, analyze promotions and offers, discover growth opportunities and develop localized marketing plans using its proprietary data.
For this study, Sense360 tracked 21 million QSR and Fast Casual Visits from June 2016 through April 2017, including 1.1 million visits from users with delivery apps installed.  To access the complete Impact of Third Party Delivery Apps on Restaurant Visits report, go to

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds