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Consumers Increasingly Order Favorite Foods To-Go

Consumers Increasingly Order Favorite Foods To-Go

Restaurant delivery traffic (excluding pizza) has increased by 33% since 20121. This leaves foodservice and restaurant operators with two choices: adjust their strategies and operating processes to make the most of this trend, or leave room for competitors to capture a portion of their dine-in numbers by offering the delivery and take-out alternatives that customers seek.

Delivery and take-out have become an expectation, with over two thirds of consumers ordering delivery from foodservice at least once a week.2

While changing operating processes can be daunting and risky, operators who have made the transition report encouraging effects. They find that customers who order takeout and delivery are more likely to reorder within 60 days than walk-in customers3 and that it generates additional traffic rather than cannibalize dine-in revenue. In fact, offering delivery has been found to raise restaurant sales volumes by 10-20%4. This is because consumers consider takeout/delivery convenient alternatives to cooking at home, rather than substitutes for dining out. This is especially true for millennials who are employed and live in a city – if these form an operator’s key customer base, offering delivery/takeout is worth evaluating seriously. Given these positive impacts, the question for operators is not whether to offer takeout/delivery, but how: through a third-party delivery service, or by developing their own delivery programs. The right approach depends on each operator.

Some useful trends and customer preferences to bear in mind when implementing takeout/delivery:

  • Consumers expect that food ordered to-go/delivered should taste the same as in-house

  • The food they rate as traveling the best include sandwiches, fried rice, fried chicken, burger and wings5

  • Most consumers use the condiments provided, and prefer them being provided separately rather than directly on the food as they perceive it as affecting quality

  • Desserts are more likely to be ordered through takeout/delivery than dine-in


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1NPD Data, 2016
2Technomic Consumer Food Trends, 2018
3Mobile Commerce Daily, 2015
4Crain's, 2016
5Datassential, 2018