In a recent press release, American food ordering and delivery platform DoorDash released its second Restaurant Online Ordering Trends Report. The annual survey compiled responses from over 1,500 customers, offering insights for restaurants looking to grow their online businesses. From cooking habits to ordering pickup, dining at restaurants, or receiving alcohol delivery — DoorDash’s questions are timely given pandemic-related challenges for restaurants worldwide.
The pandemic altered the restaurant industry, and restaurants have hustled to accommodate mandates and new buying behaviors. In a 2020 survey conducted by Upserve, 47% of surveyed restaurants reported challenges of pivoting existing business structures to accommodate surges in online demand. According to Forbes, restaurant owners continue to look to technology to recover lost sales and grow business post-pandemic, so DoorDash’s report offers helpful data.
DoorDash questioned consumers about their cooking and dining habits, asking participants to categorize their behaviors compared to the year prior. Out of those surveyed, 83% reported ordering the same amount or more delivery, and 86% ordered the same amount or more takeout than the year before. Users who opt for delivery over pick-up cited convenience as the primary motivator. On the flip-side, users said they most often choose to pick up their orders when they’re near the restaurant or can get their food faster than if it was delivered. Restaurants can take note of some of the other observed trends in customers’ ordering and food decisions.
Consumer habits provide insights for restaurants
It’s no surprise that DoorDash recorded more customers than ever before, and the company’s subscription service, Dash Pass, increased in popularity (via Press Release). Per the compiled report, there’s been an increase in customers ordering (takeout or delivery) through third-party apps and platforms with 24% of respondents saying they start their food searches on these platforms. The speed of delivery and access to customer service were top factors for customers deciding whether to order from a restaurant or a third party.
Perhaps seeking relief from mundane at-home routines, 60% of customers ordered from different restaurants than the previous year, and 92% of respondents tried new menu items. As hungry eaters went online searching for dishes, American food was the top-ordered cuisine, followed by Mexican and Japanese, respectively. French fries were the most ordered item, seconded by burrito bowls and burritos. It isn’t just lunch, dinner foods, and snacks; while Fridays are the most popular day of the week and 6 p.m. is the most popular time to order, DoorDash saw a three-time increase in breakfast orders. Side dishes, appetizers, and drinks were the most added items to customers’ carts.
As the food industry continues to right itself, food delivery won’t be slowing down anytime soon.