How we're working to shorten restaurant wait times

At Deliveroo, we love hearing what you have to say – it helps us to understand what’s working for you and what isn’t. Following your recent feedback about the impact that waiting for orders has on your sessions, we wanted to share how we’re working towards reducing restaurant wait times.

The first step towards reducing restaurant wait times is accurately calculating ‘prep for’ times.

What is the ‘prep for’ time?

When a restaurant accepts an order, they’re assigned a ‘prep for’ time by Deliveroo. The ‘prep for’ time is when we predict the order should be ready for collection.

How is the ‘prep for’ time calculated?

The ‘prep for’ time is calculated by our system, not the restaurant.  To determine the “prep for” time, we take into account at:

  • the number of riders that are nearby
  • how many times the delivery might be rejected
  • how long it would take a rider to get to the restaurant    
  • the size of the order and how long it will take the restaurant to prepare
  • how busy the restaurant appears to be
  • the time it took the restaurant to prepare previous orders

We try to calculate this time as accurately as possible to ensure restaurants are able to prepare the food within the timeframe, and that you can be sure of when it’ll be ready to collect.

How Deliveroo is working to shorten restaurant wait times:

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

  • improving communication  between your app and restaurants, so the restaurant gets a more  accurate arrival time for you
  • looking at additional 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 over the next few months.

How you can help shorten wait times:

While we’re making improvements to the app, there are a couple of things you can do to help too.


You can choose whether to accept or reject every order. When orders are rejected a few times by different riders, it can lead to 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.


When you are close enough to the restaurant, the app tells the restaurant you’ve arrived. If you ‘force arrival’ before this point, you’ll show up on the restaurant’s tablet as having arrived, but they won’t be able to see you.

If this happens frequently, they may wait until they see you arrive before they get the food ready – which means a longer waiting time for you.

Working together to provide a great experience for everyone

We know our restaurants are busy and work hard to complete a large quantity of orders as quickly as possible. Restaurants don’t want to keep you waiting – this affects their position in Deliveroo’s search results.

We also know that you are working hard to complete as many deliveries as possible during your scheduled sessions. You don’t want to be kept waiting – late orders result in unhappy customers and delay you from getting your next order.

By working together, we’ll be able to reduce restaurant wait times and accomplish our goal of providing customers with hot and freshly prepared food!