Delivery platforms could turn to bid-based systems where restaurants pay to be found in searches, in order to achieve profitability, a former Uber Eats data scientist has suggested.

Michael Houck said delivery platforms could also charge restaurants for nudging consumers towards recommended items they machine learning predicts them to like.

Visibility boosting, where partners are charged to be temporarily indexed higher on the platform, such as, is also considered a quick-win option for platforms looking to generate incremental revenue.

Houck, who is currently at Airbnb, self-published the Future of Food Delivery slide deck, where he argues with delivery platforms so far unable to achieve consistent profitability, they will need to explore additional revenue streams as they scale.

Top tier restaurant brands with significant capital will have a clear way to ensure their visibility, while brands lesser financed brands will face a choice between less visibility to consumers or increased costs.

Houck cites the expensive consumer price point as by far the most significant deterrent to use of delivery platforms.

Batching, where one driver is assigned multiple orders simultaneously, where destinations are in close proximity, is cited as a way to save on costs with minimal impacts on food quality.

In China, where order densities in cities are very high, consumers already pay low costs for delivery.

In the US, Uber Eats is looking at ways to artificially increase batching, by concentrating demand and orders on certain restaurants at certain times through time-gated discounts.

Houck forecasts any reduction in price point will create an influx of orders, with a greater share of the total market for food going towards restaurants that become delivery favourites.

The established delivery platforms will look for M&A opportunities with adjacent vertical platforms, such as retail and pharma, or complimentary pieces of the value chain, such as payment and distribution, that require minimal integration.

The consolidation of tech platforms into super apps with multiple functions could have negative consequences for restaurants, as they become one piece of an app, rather than the main focus, making it more difficult to stand out.

Houck argues exclusivity arrangements between platforms and brands do not serve their mutual bets interests, as they reduce choice on the platforms, and minimise reach for restaurants.