Tech round-up: why you sometimes wait a long time at restaurants

Why restaurant wait times matter

Restaurants don’t want to keep you waiting – this affects their position in Deliveroo’s search results. You don’t want to be kept waiting – late orders make our customers unhappy and delay you from getting your next order.

We all want to get food to customers that’s freshly prepared and hot when it arrives.

How we work out when an order should be ready

When a restaurant accepts an order, it’s given a ‘prep for’ time.  This is when we predict the order should be ready for collection. To work this time out, our systems look at:

  • how many riders are nearby
  • how many times the delivery might be rejected
  • how long it would take a rider to arrive
  • the size of the order and how long they’ll take to prepare it
  • how busy the restaurant appears to be

The prediction is based on previous orders the restaurant has received.

How rejections affect wait times

You can choose whether to accept or reject every order. Orders rejected a few times by different riders can result in delays, or mean the food has to be re-made. Lots of rejections also make it harder for our system to work out when the restaurant should have the food ready and when they can expect a rider to arrive.

How your arrival affects restaurants

When you are close enough to the restaurant, the app shows you’ve arrived. If you ‘force arrival’ before this point it causes problems for our systems and restaurants.

If staff see you’ve arrived on their system but can’t see you there, they don’t believe what their tablet is telling them. If this happens a lot, they may wait until they see you arrive before they get the food ready – which means a longer waiting time for you.  

What we’re doing to reduce restaurant wait times

We’re currently looking at how we can help to make things faster for you. We’re:

  • improving the signals between your app and our restaurants – so they see more accurate arrival times for you
  • looking at what order information we could show you to help decide whether to accept an order
  • improving restaurant locations in your app

You should see these improvements in the next few months.