Incorporating Customer Effects into the Meal Delivery Process
Delivering meal orders as fast as possible and the meal itself as hot as possible are the most important factors in the meal delivery process as they drive customer satisfaction. High customer satisfaction leads to loyal customers, implying a higher rate of recurring orders, in return. Existing approaches tackle the meal delivery process by taking a short-term perspective on a single optimization criterion (e.g. minimizing delivery costs). Still missing is an alternative perspective that also incorporates the long-term value contribution of individual customers. By neglecting this customer-centric perspective, frequent out-of-town located ordering customers might be disadvantaged as they are always served at the end of the route. To close this research gap, we propose a decision model (C2RG) that incorporates a long-term customer-centric view. Depending on differently short- and long-term preferences, the model can be appropriately customized. We observe a significant increase in a long-term factor, such as customer fairness by only slightly reducing short-term route performance. We instantiated a software prototype of the C2RG and evaluated it with real-world data of a local platform-to-consumer delivery service located in Germany. The results show the importance of considering a customer-centric long-term perspective in the meal delivery process.