Consumer Preferences for Restaurant and Grocery Delivery Services in Seattle: Impacts on Travel Behavior

Term Start:

October 1, 2023

Term End:

December 31, 2024




Consumer Preferences, Grocery Delivery, Meal Delivery, Travel Behavior

Thrust Area(s):

Equity and Understanding User Needs

University Lead:

University of Washington


Amelia Regan

The use of restaurant and grocery delivery services, coupled with the growth of e-commerce and related parcel delivery raises concern for the safety of drivers and pedestrians in urban areas. Traditional restaurants, ghost restaurants which operate out of storefront kitchens, grocery delivery services which similarly operate out of traditional stores or urban warehouses or micro-fulfilment centers rely on third-party food-delivery platforms through which consumers can order and receive food products. These third-party intermediary platforms can operate as gig economy services (GES) or professional service companies. In the case of online food delivery, in the US GES has spread through many companies such as uber-eats, grubhub, doordash, postmates and instacart. Traditional grocery stores also provide deliveries and might rely on their own delivery services, though increasingly they also employ or the third party services. This project follows closely behind a mixed methods study of restaurant and grocery delivery services in Seattle Washington. That project which was launched in Fall, 2023 involves a both a survey and in-depth interviews with delivery drivers, is focused primarily on driver satisfaction and safety of both drivers and pedestrians in urban areas. Preliminary results should be available in January 2024. That study is a replication study of sorts as it draws on the results of a 2017 study of delivery drivers in London, UK. The London study was led by the PIs close collaborator at the University College London, Professor Nicola Christie. The proposed project is focused on consumers in Seattle who use restaurant and grocery delivery services and the related impacts on the safety of delivery drivers (in automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, e-bikes, e-scooters and on foot) and pedestrians in dense urban areas. Of particular interest is users’ willingness to pay for these services, their reported typically frequency of use of such services, their use of traditional restaurants, and their perceptions and interest in the working conditions of workers drivers who make the deliveries.

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