Platform logistics or self-logistics? Restaurants’ cooperation with online food-delivery platform considering profitability and sustainability

Baozhuang Niu, Qiyang Li, Zihao Mu, Lei Chen, Ping Ji

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Online food-delivery platforms provide accessible marketplaces for fast-food restaurants. However, who should take charge of logistics, especially when there is increasing consumption of plastic containers, utensils, and other single-use items? In practice, either platform logistics or restaurant's self-logistics is available. For the former, customers pay for food and logistics services separately, while for the latter, “food & logistics” is sold in a bundle. Using game-theoretical approach, we consider a fast-food restaurant selling food in both online and physical stores, which cooperates with an online food-delivery platform under commission contract, and opts to use the platform logistics or self-logistics to deliver online orders. Interestingly, we find that the online “food & logistics” price under two logistics strategies exhibit opposite relationships with respect to the commission rate, and the restaurant's offline food price might first increase and then decrease in the online commission rate. Consequently, the restaurant prefers to use platform logistics when its online market potential is low. We show that the restaurant's preference for platform logistics is non-monotonic in the online market potential. Using the sales quantity-based environmental index (EI) to measure the sustainability performances under the two logistics strategies, we find that the platform logistics strategy is more environment-friendly when the online market potential is high.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108064
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Environmental impact
  • Logistics strategies
  • Online food-delivery
  • Platform operations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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