- Lear Corporation's Xevo software business has partnered with Grubhub to enable contactless food ordering capabilities from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, according to a press release. Food orders are made through an app on the Uconnect Market connected service platform, which is available in 2019 and 2020 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram cars.
- FCA cars are the first to feature the Grubhub app as part of its connected services offerings, per the release. Customers order and pay for their meal via an in-vehicle touchscreen. They also have the ability to reorder favorites or discover "new favorites."
- In the press release, Alan D'Agostini, director of FCA's Global Connected Services, said in-car technology and connected services are "growing exponentially" and this latest announcement puts the company ahead of the curve. The connected car market is expected to generate a compound annual growth rate of 17.1% through 2027.
This order ahead functionality plays on a number of trends that have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, including order-and-pay ahead and contactless solutions. Having a connection to Grubhub's 300,000-plus restaurants from the car provides a new line of exposure and access to those restaurants, especially with the use of the "new favorites" feature. If consumers are near a restaurant they have not ordered from before, they can tap a button that forwards the restaurant's menu to their email for later review.
Chains have also been testing in-car ordering. In November 2019, Nekter Juice Bar and Portillo's Hot Dogs were the first brands to participate in BMW's in-car ordering pilot through a partnership with Olo. These orders are sent directly to the restaurants. Domino's also added in-car ordering through a partnership with Xevo in March 2019 that was added to millions of cars with this technology.
While the pandemic upended commuting, there will be plenty of potential to grow online orders through this channel. Prior to the pandemic, approximately 35 million U.S. commuters — or 35% — who used connected devices did so to order food from their cars.
Grubhub appears to be the first major foodservice delivery company to offer an in-car ordering capability, but it’s not the only company expanding beyond traditional delivery. DoorDash and Uber Eats have both added new services throughout the past year, like DoorDash for Work, grocery delivery and sponsored restaurant listings. Both have also explored autonomous delivery via robots and drones. These companies will likely continue diversifying their offerings as they seek to generate an elusive profit.