- About 25% of online orders placed in 2020 were for delivery, according to Paytronix's Order and Delivery Report 2021. Restaurants that used their own couriers reported about 44% of orders were for delivery, while operators that exclusively use third-party delivery platforms only had about 12% of orders placed for delivery.
- Delivery customers spent 21% more at restaurants with self-delivery than takeout customers on average except for spring 2020, when takeout orders surged due to the onset of the pandemic. When ordering for delivery through third parties, delivery guests spent about 32% more than takeout patrons before the pandemic. After the start of the COVID-19 crisis, third-party delivery customers only spent 10% more than takeout customers.
- More people were willing to try online ordering in 2020, and 65% of digital restaurant orders came from first-time guests during the pandemic. Digital orders represent nearly one-third of all restaurant orders compared to 10% of all restaurant orders pre-pandemic, according to data from Boston Consulting Group cited in Paytronix's report.
The restaurant industry saw a lot of off-premise innovation during the pandemic, from contactless delivery to curbside pickup, in an effort to keep businesses afloat and allow customers to order safely amid quarantine restrictions.
But as many food chains leaned on third-party delivery to meet demand, companies such as DoorDash struggled to retain drivers needed to make last-mile deliveries. This labor shortage was blamed for longer wait times and inconsistent service, creating a challenge for restaurants using delivery partners.
While delivery became a go-to channel, curbside pickup also grew in prominence. Sixty-seven percent of restaurants said they added curbside delivery after March 2020, according to the National Restaurant Association cited in Paytronix's report. Customers are also expecting curbside pickup and in-store pickup to become standard offerings this year, according to a Constant Contact survey.
Delivery, however, has more loyal customers, according to Paytronix. The average delivery customer orders 2.5 times per month compared to the average takeout guest, who orders 2 times per month. Curbside accounts for 1.6 takeout orders per month on average.
Customers are spending more to make the cost for delivery worthwhile, Paytronix found. Many brands, including Chipotle, have also started increasing delivery menu prices to drive profitability. Restaurant brands also offered family or bundled meals during the pandemic to help boost average checks.
A.B. Brown contributed to this report.