It seems everyone craves takeout lately—and the numbers prove it. A recent report from online food ordering company DoorDash found a 15% year-over-year growth for same-store pickup orders using their app and an 11% growth for same-store delivery orders. Additionally, 37% of respondents ordered delivery more often than last year, and 41% said the same for picking up an order, according to 2022 survey data.
Interest doesn't just stop there: 37% of consumers dined indoors more often than last year, and nearly 1 in 5 decided to dine al fresco more often. Whether eating at a restaurant or taking a meal to go, the message seems clear—diners value the simplicity of not having to cook a meal themselves as life slowly comes back to "normal" after the onset of the pandemic.
According to the National Restaurant Association, 62% of adults said they're more likely to order takeout or delivery now compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry sales are expected to hit $898 billion in 2022, but the industry continues to struggle with the repercussions of food shortages during the pandemic years. Six percent of operators experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items in 2021, and supply chain challenges have continued through 2022.
So how do restaurant trends from last year compare to now? Task Group looked at trends in how people ordered meals online in 2022, according to data from DoorDash and research from industry sources like the National Restaurant Association.
When ordering takeout, service is just as important for consumers as the convenience of preparing and delivering a meal. A DoorDash report found nearly 3 in 4 consumers chose a delivery method based on the quality of experience, 69% stated the importance of an accurate delivery time, and 69% valued quality customer service.
Plus, while customers could call a restaurant to order, nearly all enjoyed using a third-party app that allowed them to save their delivery information for easy checkout. Almost half said they enjoyed the convenience of having their delivery information saved (up 9% from 2021), and 44% said they wanted to be able to re-order their last meal easily. Easy checkout processes were also valued, with 41% stating they enjoyed having their payment information saved to make future orders with a click of a button.
Although takeout is popularly seen as an option for lunch and dinner, early risers also sought convenient options to get a meal in the morning. DoorDash found morning orders between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. saw a threefold increase between 2021 and 2020, as more people considered ordering delivery for breakfast and brunch. Who wouldn't want a cup of coffee quickly delivered to their door?
Thirty-seven percent of consumers said they preferred ordering through a third-party delivery platform—up 10% compared to 2021. Only 18% of consumers preferred calling a restaurant directly, down from 27% last year.
Some consumers still ordered from the restaurant—but without picking up the phone. Thirty-eight percent said they preferred to order their delivery from a restaurant's website or app, allowing them to order on a device without calling or using a third-party system. However, the use of a restaurant's website or app has decreased, down 5% from last year.
The convenience of having food delivered is also beneficial for consumers still worried about possible COVID-19 exposure—29% said they avoided going to restaurants for this reason. Half of consumers said ordering delivery was more convenient than picking up, especially when 2 in 5 customers preferred not to go out.
Along with the ease of use and convenience of an app, consumers said familiarity was key to their ordering experience. Nineteen percent of consumers said returning to a third-party app they are familiar with to order food was crucial to making their takeout experience easier.
DoorDash users had a specific hankering for American and Mexican food. Between January and March 2022, the most popular items ordered on DoorDash included french fries, burritos and burrito bowls, chicken nuggets and sandwiches, hash browns, and cheeseburgers.
DoorDash users also craved Japanese, Italian, and Chinese food throughout the beginning of the year.
Plus, ordering the main meal wasn't enough: DoorDash noted that consumers increasingly added appetizers, sides, and beverages to their meals.
Even though consumers continued going to restaurants, DoorDash's data showed more people preferred ordering takeout or picking up versus indoor dining. Eighty-six percent of consumers said they ordered takeout and pickup as much or even more than last year; 83% said they ordered more delivery.
While more than half of adults said they aren't eating at restaurants as often as they desired, according to the National Restaurant Association, the convenience of ordering takeout or delivery from a third-party app seemed to interest consumers looking for an easy way to get good food on the table.
This story originally appeared on Task Group and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.