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Like the rest of the world, the restaurant industry is ever-changing and evolving. Today’s restaurant operators are constantly adapting to reach their customers’ needs and ensure the success of their business. 

With trends moving so quickly, it can be easy to get caught up in what the internet claims is important at a certain moment. It’s even more important to take a step back and review solid data points that can help move your business forward.

Which is why we teamed up with Technomic to learn what matters most to consumers when ordering delivery and takeout and how independent operators are leveraging technology, online ordering providers and delivery marketplaces to take their business to the next level in 2022.

Here are 31 restaurant industry trends and data points* to help you modernize your business and make informed decisions that can impact your bottom line.

What are the present trends in restaurants?

Restaurant Operators

The pandemic drastically altered the restaurant landscape, and many of those changes are here to stay. Many restaurant operators continue to invest heavily in their online ordering presence whether it’s through third-party delivery partners, a direct online ordering site, or other methods. 

75% of Restaurant Operators currently offer online ordering via a Third Party Marketplace Provider. 

85% of Restaurant Operators report partnering with 8 or more Third-Party takeout/delivery partners.

Restaurant Operators reported enhancing their delivery services since 2019. The most common changes included:

  • Increasing the number of menu items available for takeout and delivery (39%)
  • Increasing the number of Third-Party Takeout/Delivery services they partner with (37%)
  • Adding Self-Delivery (37%)

Of the restaurant operators who reported making these changes, 68% indicated that they intend for these changes to be permanent.

41% of independent restaurant operators reported managing a virtual restaurant concept out of their brick-and-mortar location(s).

Restaurant Diners

Important attributes of third-party and restaurant delivery apps and websites, according to our study:

(Share indicating important / very important)

  • Menu item descriptions: 83%
  • Ability to customize order: 81%
  • Restaurant’s rating and reviews: 77%
  • Appealing pictures and images of menu items: 75%
  • Availability of loyalty/ rewards program or perks: 60%

Delivery/takeout orders are most likely to be impulse/unplanned meals: 

  • An impulse/ unplanned:  67%
  • A routine meal/everyday occasion: 51%
  • A planned meal for a special occasion: 35%

What’s trending in food?

Online ordering and delivery methods have shown they are here to stay. 

From our recent survey conducted with Technomic of consumers, 63% of respondents reported an increase in the frequency with which they order takeout and delivery, compared to their pre-pandemic. 

Conversely, 67% reported a decrease in dining in at restaurants. 

Additionally, 37% of respondents reported that they expect the frequency with which they order delivery or takeout via a Third Party Delivery app to increase over the next 6 months.

It’s clear that many consumers are still relying on takeout and delivery services, whether that is directly from the restaurant, or through the use of a third-party delivery app

However, another important piece of the puzzle is understanding when, and why customers are choosing to order. 

When asked the reason why they are using third-party delivery more often, 48% of respondents indicated that it was because they found the app quick and easy to use. 

It’s also important to be aware of when consumers are ordering most often to ensure you and your staff are prepared to meet demand. 68% of respondents said Friday was the most common day they ordered delivery.  

Saturday was the second highest response at 61%. 

It’s also helpful to understand what meals consumers order most often through delivery. 84% of consumers reported ordering delivery for dinner. 

Lunch was the second highest reported ordering time at 48%. 

Dessert only came in just above beverage only at 8%.

Older consumers are more likely to order takeout/delivery for dinner, while younger consumers are more likely than their older counterparts to order outside of the traditional dayparts. 

What’s trending in beverages?

Another change related to the pandemic is that beverages have emerged as an important menu category for successful takeout and delivery programs. Not only do both non-alcohol and alcohol beverages complete the off-premise dining experience for consumers, but they also build check average and drive margin for the restaurant. 

Cold and hot non-alcoholic beverages saw 33 percentage-point and 58 percentage-point increases respectively since 2019. 

Gen Zers and Millennials are most likely to order beverages.

Millennials are out ordering the overall survey group as well as Gen Zers when it comes to ordering coffee and / or alcoholic beverages for delivery or takeout.

63% of independent restaurant operators surveyed are offering alcohol beverages, up from 15% in 2019.

81% of independent restaurant operators surveyed are offering hot non-alcohol beverages, up from 23% in 2019.

85% of independent restaurant operators surveyed who used Grubhub are satisfied with Grubhub delivery partners’ handling of hot and cold items in the same order – higher than the competitor average. 

Capitalize on restaurant industry trends with Grubhub

Now more than ever it is critical to use all of the tools and information at your disposal to help keep our restaurant ahead of the curve. Not only are you provided these things when you join Grubhub, but you join nearly 9 out of 10 independent restaurant operators in agreeing that Grubhub delivers high ROI to their restaurant – higher than the competitor average.

Be sure to download the full report for more insights on recent restaurant industry trends and start your journey to delivery success today. 

* Source: Technomic, Inc. restaurant industry survey report (2022) in partnership with Grubhub