How To Handle Last-Minute Delivery Changes In Your Food Delivery Business?

keyKey Takeaways:

  • Have a clear strategy for handling last-minute delivery modifications and let everyone who needs to know about it.
  • Maintain open lines of communication with clients to inform them of any changes or delays and to immediately address any issues or concerns.
  • Plan ahead for probable disruptions and put emergency measures in place to lessen their negative impact on delivery operations.
  • Analyze data to find trends and patterns in delivery changes, then utilize this knowledge to guide your future efforts.

The last decade or so has seen the explosion of the food business industry. Substantial improvements in technology and delivery logistics have also ensured a significant demand for these delivery services.

Fun fact, around 63% of consumers today prefer to have their food delivered than dine in their favorite restaurant. You would think the pandemic has put a damper on these services but hardly so. In fact, 31% of American households now prefer to deliver groceries to their doorstep rather than spending a precious hour or two at the local grocery store.

As customers are more aware and demand better services, food businesses try to implement new and innovative technology into their existing processes to convert and retain as many happy customers as possible.

But not everything is as perfect as it seems. With demand comes the overhead of issues and complications. The food business industry has its fair share of obstacles that sometimes hinder the efficiency of food delivery. As every business owner knows, customer satisfaction is a pillar of running a smooth business. Without a loyal customer base, businesses go down in flames quicker than they are built up.

Today, we are focusing on such an issue in last-minute delivery changes that specifically affect food businesses — the last-minute change requests. We’ll see how businesses manually operate today, the software solutions available to optimize this manual process, and how to effectively solve the problem of last-minute delivery changes.

How Do Food Delivery Businesses Operate Today?

Most food businesses today rely on a traditional approach in terms of delivery. Food business owners receive orders, map delivery routes on apps like Google Maps, compile all the information in Excel. The delivery personnel then set out with the order or multiple orders, using Excel and navigation services like Google Maps as a guide, and deliver packages to the customer’s doorstep.

If you notice, there is so much room for improvement in this process. By optimizing route planning and scheduling, business owners can deliver customer orders efficiently and decrease cost-per-driver. This inevitably also translates to fuel efficiency and the overall performance of the business.

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Businesses that use the traditional approach also fail to develop a good delivery plan of action. Moreover, they end up paying a high fee for many hidden costs that could have been avoided. That is the major disadvantage of the traditional method.

There will also always be a certain limit on the number of orders that you as a business can fulfill because a good delivery strategy is not implemented or taken into account.

The good news is that not all hope is lost. Food delivery businesses can improve by applying a better strategy. One such option is investing in route planning and optimization software for last-minute changes in food deliveries, which removes all manual efforts and automates them to bring better results. 

Optimizing Using Route Planning Software

  • Route planning software is the next evolutionary step for e-commerce shipping options. It allows you to resolve delivery challenges and makes the delivery lifecycle in a food business smooth and easy. Let’s take an example of Upper’s route planning and optimization software, which has been helping businesses optimize their food deliveries.
  • The Upper Route Planner Software lets you import your Excel and generate an optimized delivery route. Using a click of a button, you can then dispatch a delivery driver to fulfill the customer’s order. This whole process saves up about 95% of the planning time that owners spend when they manually calculate the routes.
  • Upper route planner also has provisions for setting priority orders with a strict delivery time window. This means that the software can ensure that end-customer orders are fulfilled by directing delivery drivers appropriately through traffic, roadblocks, and more. For all those customers who keep coming back to your business, you can also archive routes that are traversed often to fulfill their orders. This means more efficiency because you don’t have to enter these routes ever again manually.
  • Another highlight of relying on route planning software to fulfill orders is the analytics. UpperInc allows admins and delivery partners to view and generate reports daily. This morale-boosting step helps everyone involved set achievable delivery goals. It also allows setting a standard throughout the business in terms of optimized deliveries that can be accomplished in a day.
  • It is always advantageous to rely on a tool or service that can streamline the delivery process way better than a single human can do. Especially when you can improve your business by making remarkably more deliveries in the same time frame than you would be able to achieve without it. All this translates to higher business profits and a content customer base.

The last-minute Delivery Change Dilemma

One of the disadvantages food delivery businesses face when trying to fulfill multiple orders is that there are potentially several stops in a driver’s itinerary. With the number of stops increasing the routes can get complex, which means getting from A to B takes more time on the road and more idle time spent in situations like traffic.

As mentioned previously, one of the issues that directly puts a damper on efficiency in delivery is unforeseen last-minute delivery changes. Now, there are two sides to this coin. Either the customer has initiated this last-minute change or the delivery driver has done so due to some inconvenience. Either way, it is now the responsibility of the business owner to accommodate said change.

If this was achieved in a traditional setting, the business owner would have had to face a major headache doing all the rerouting himself. When a delivery driver is out on multiple orders, a single hiccup in one order leads to a cascading effect on all other orders. In simpler terms, a single delay can lead to a long line of delays. 

Fast-forward to resolving this situation using route planning software. Software solutions like UpperInc are built to anticipate such challenges. Instead of manually doing any of the rerouting, all the business owner has to do is update the UpperInc interface of changes. The rest will be handled by the software itself. 

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Upper Route Planner is a route planning and optimization software that allows you to easily plan efficient routes with multiple stops.

Some Last-minute Delivery Scenarios to Watch Out For

Let us take a better look at some of the scenarios where this last-minute change issue might occur.

  • Scenario 1
  • Say, a customer requested food delivery to his workplace. The order is processed at the restaurant and sent over via a delivery driver. Unfortunately, the customer has decided to change the delivery location to his home. 

    Through UpperInc such situations can be resolved in an instant. The delivery driver can view the updated route that he should now take which the Upper route planner  algorithm has calculated to be the optimum route.

  • Scenario 2
  • The business owner of a food delivery business has received multiple orders on a typically busy weekend. The majority of the delivery drivers have called in sick. Now, the owner is left with a handful of drivers and an avalanche of orders.

    If the owner were to approach this the traditional way, the rerouting process would most likely have left him feeling majorly overwhelmed. But with a routing planning software like UpperInc, this is accounted for and the business owner can rest easy knowing that UpperInc will find an optimal solution. 

  • Scenario 3
  • A customer places an order at a restaurant. Half an hour later, the customer decides to cancel their order. This wouldn’t be much of an inconvenience but the delivery driver has been assigned multiple orders to be fulfilled. Now, having traveled the bulk of the way, the driver has to look for a new route to reach his next destination.

    With UpperInc, the owner can update this cancellation on the UpperInc interface. To avoid causing delays on any other orders, a better route is calculated based on the delivery driver’s current location and he can then get to the other orders as quickly as possible.

  • Scenario 4
  • This last scenario is not a last-minute change but rather an unforeseen consequence on the delivery route. While on multiple order delivery, the delivery partner has stumbled on a route that has had a major accident that is causing insane traffic delays and stalling the delivery of food orders. 

    The UpperInc software is built to accommodate such unfortunate incidents by rerouting appropriately, saving time and fuel costs.

No matter the scenario, software solutions like UpperInc can always aid in spotting inefficiencies and solving them.

When dealing with customers, transparency goes a long way. With UpperInc, business owners can track the delivery drivers to ensure that everything is going smoothly and orders will be handed over in good time. 

The business owner can also keep customers that are anticipating their orders, in the loop with how much time is left for them to receive their order by sending them an accurate ETA based on the current location of the driver.

CTA image

Upper Route Planner

A Simple-to-use route planner that every one is talking about.

  • Save up to 95% of planning time
  • Save up to 40% of time on the road
  • Plan 500 stops at once


It means finding the quickest and efficient route to deliver orders. When drivers are delivering multiple orders, they must follow the most optimized path to reach the customer. This helps to reduce fuel costs and leads to faster deliveries which means more happy customers.

Industries that deal with direct-to-customer order fulfillment all face this issue in one form or another. For example, food delivering third-party applications like PostMates etc, are all affected by last-mile logistics. E-commerce businesses, pharmacy delivery, grocery delivery, etc. are some of the examples of industries where this issue prevails.

When delivery services drivers have to fulfill multiple orders that span across, say, an entire city, routes can inevitably get complex. Drivers can also amass unnecessary miles that indicate poor efficiency. If your delivery driver has orders to fulfill even in the remote parts of a city, it will do you good in the long term to have a better strategy in place.

If your company has passed a beginner stage, that is if your company receives multiple orders in a day, then it may be time to switch from the traditional route to a more streamlined and logical software solution. Whether you are new to the scene or established as a food business, if you are losing money trying to fulfill orders as per consumer expectations or facing sunk costs caused due to inefficient delivery then it is wiser to invest in planning and optimizing software solutions.


The responsibility of providing a pleasing delivery experience as per consumer expectations as a food delivery company/business owner is a mammoth task. Some issues seem unavoidable and cause major backlash when trying to run a smooth service. 

Even when you are diligently monitoring all your business expenses and optimizing as you go, it is very easy for unexpected costs to creep in and accumulate. In the long run, you may be losing a whole lot of money you could have used to potentially further invest in your business itself.

As we have seen, last-minute changes can cause delays in delivery efficiency. Being prepared for all kinds of delays is now made easier thanks to capable logical route planning software solutions like Upper route planner.

This route planning software will take out all the manual work out of your tasks and make it easy for you to plan and optimize routes on a daily basis. From saing time to fuel and effort, Upper Route Planner is here to handle all your route planning, optimizing, and scheduling in advance. To know how it benefits your business, you can and experience it yourself.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.