Restaurant Carry-Out and Delivery Digital Orders Soar During the Pandemic —Full service restaurant digital orders jump by 237%

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In the year ending March 2021, which covers a full year since the start of the pandemic, restaurant digital orders grew +124% compared to the prior year, reports The NPD Group.

“It’s unlikely that digital ordering will grow at the same pace it has during the pandemic once restaurants are fully open, but it’s table stakes for restaurants now,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America.

Digital ordering was a lifeline for consumers and restaurants, particularly full service restaurants, during the pandemic, reports The NPD Group. In the year ending March 2021, which covers a full year since the start of the pandemic, restaurant digital orders grew +124% compared to prior year. Digital orders for carry-out, which represented 62% of all digital orders, increased by +130%, and digital orders for delivery grew by +140% in the period compared to a year ago and held 38% share of total restaurant digital orders, according to NPD’s ongoing foodservice market research, CREST®.

Digital ordering offered full service restaurants, which operated under varying degrees of mandated dine-in restrictions throughout the pandemic, much needed support. Prior to the pandemic, full service restaurants represented a 10% share of digital orders, as of the year ending March 31, the segment held a 16% share and saw a +237% increase in digital orders during the period versus a year ago. Quick service digital orders, which represented the remaining 84% share, also realized triple-digit growth of +111%, reports NPD.

Restaurant apps and websites are the most used channels for digital ordering, representing 62% of all digital orders. However, digital orders through third-party apps, like DoorDash or UberEats, grew by +207% in the period over year ago compared to the +98% increase in digital orders through restaurant apps and websites.

“It’s unlikely that digital ordering will grow at the same pace it has during the pandemic once restaurants are fully open, but it’s table stakes for restaurants now,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Digital ordering is all about elevated convenience and ease and that’s what makes consumers tick.”    

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About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. We have offices in 27 cities worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, video games, and watches. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

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