50 Online Ordering & Food Delivery Statistics that Will Blow Your Mind

By Hotel Tech Report

Last updated January 26, 2022

6 min read


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In the midst of all the challenges that the hospitality industry has faced over the last year, one segment of the industry is booming: food delivery. As people hunkered down at home, after getting tired of baking sourdough bread, they turned to their smartphones to order food for delivery or carry-out. Perhaps you’ve heard a little about the growth of food delivery and mobile ordering (or maybe you’ve experienced it firsthand), but this article will give you a comprehensive look at this exciting new frontier of hospitality. Ready to be wowed? Let’s jump into 50 astonishing statistics about online ordering and food delivery.

 

Just how big is the food delivery industry?

  1. The food delivery industry in the United States has tripled in revenue in the past five years. In 2015, 66 million Americans ordered $8.7 billion of food delivery; in 2020 food delivery revenue surpassed $26 billion and 111 million users.

  2. The sky’s the limit! The US food delivery market shows no signs of slowing down. It’s predicted to further grow to $43 billion by 2025.

  3. As of March 2020, 38% of American consumers had ordered food via a food delivery app. By March 2021, 47% of Americans had used a food delivery app, illustrating just how significantly the pandemic affected the food delivery industry.

  4. Food delivery is here to stay; in 2021, 53% of survey respondents - and 64% of millennial respondents - say that food delivery and takeout are “essential to the way they live.”

  5. In a November 2020 study conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 66% of survey respondents said they had ordered takeout or delivery food for dinner within the past week, and 47% of respondents said they had takeout or delivery for lunch within the same time period.

  6. Nearly everyone orders food delivery in the US; Gloria Food’s study found that 86% of Americans had ordered food delivery at least once a month.

  7. The pandemic was a big player in customers’ dining and ordering habits. 68% of consumers say they’re more likely to order takeout in 2021 than they were pre-pandemic.

  8. Although food delivery companies are seeing impressive growth, many customers still prefer to order directly from restaurants. By the end of 2021, revenue for restaurant-to-customer delivery is expected to reach nearly $72 million, while revenue for platform food delivery orders is expected to hit $79 million.

  9. Across all demographics and geographic areas studied, US consumers prefer to order food delivery directly from the restaurant, when given a choice.

  10. Restaurants were quick to adapt to the changing industry after the pandemic began. 81% of fine dining restaurants, 78% of family dining establishments, and 77% of fast casual restaurants added curbside takeout to their operations after March 2020. Nearly half of restaurateurs said they added food delivery options.

 

What are the biggest food delivery companies?

  1. Food delivery and online ordering apps were some of the most popular app downloads in 2020. UberEats and the McDonalds app both saw 82 million global downloads in 2020, and DoorDash saw 44 million downloads. By comparison, Google Maps had 88 million downloads, Tinder had 74 million downloads, and eBay had 51 million downloads in 2020. 

  2. Food delivery fans weren’t the only ones gobbling things up in 2020. After global food delivery heavyweights Just Eat and Takeaway.com merged in an $8.5 billion deal, the new Just Eat Takeaway conglomerate acquired another big player, Grubhub, for $7.3 billion.

  3. Let’s not forget about another big shakeup in the US food delivery market in 2020: UberEats bought Postmates for $2.65 billion in July 2020.

  4. Although UberEats takes a 20 to 30 percent cut of each order, the company is still not profitable. Just how unprofitable is UberEats? In Q2 2020, the company lost $232 million

  5. In 2020, DoorDash beat out UberEats for the largest share of the food delivery market in the US. By the end of 2020, DoorDash controlled 45% of the food delivery market, with UberEats at 22%, Grubhub at 18%, and Postmates at 8%.

  6. Talk about a swift rise to the top! In 2015, DoorDash’s share of the US food delivery market was just 5%. In 2020 the company snagged a 45% market share and nearly $3 billion in revenue.

  7. Food delivery market share varies widely by city. In March 2021, in San Francisco, DoorDash had 71% of the city’s food delivery sales. In Miami, however, UberEats was the biggest player, with a 55% share. And in Los Angeles, Postmates made up 32% of sales, while in most other cities it barely reached 5%.

  8. By the end of 2020, UberEats was available in around 1,000 cities. In 2021, the company expects to be active in 6,000 cities globally.

  9. UberEats is the world’s largest food delivery platform in terms of number of users. Globally, 66 million people used UberEats in 2020. DoorDash is the most popular food delivery platform in the US, with about 18 million users.

  10. Food delivery app users aren’t particularly loyal. Over 40% of UberEats, Grubhub, and Postmates users also used DoorDash during Q1 2021.

 

What about online ordering directly from restaurants?

  1. Orders placed via their mobile app make up nearly a quarter of all sales at Starbucks locations in the US, according to the coffee company’s Q3 2020 report.

  2. Domino’s is another chain experiencing massive success from its mobile app; as of late 2020, mobile orders comprise around 75% of Domino’s sales.

  3. Most online orders, about 60%, are made on smartphones. For that reason, it’s important to ensure your restaurant’s website and online ordering system are optimized for small screens!

  4. With a surge in orders placed online for both delivery and take-out, quick-service and fast casual restaurants like Burger King and Chipotle have designated specific “lanes” for more efficient order pick-up. 

  5. Pizza restaurants were pioneers in the online ordering space. Pizza Hut first experimented with online ordering in 1994(!), then launched the segment’s first mobile ordering app in 2009. It didn’t just let customers order their favorite pies; customers could also play in-app games while they waited for their delivery to arrive.

  6. 23% of restaurants say their customers are more engaged with their online offerings now compared to pre-pandemic times, showing a shift toward digital ordering channels.

  7. In a recent study conducted by Square, two-thirds of customers say they would prefer to order food via a restaurant’s own mobile ordering platform, rather than using a third-party. Out of that group, 61% said their preference for direct ordering was because they wanted to support the restaurant.

  8. Online ordering systems can help you test menu changes much more easily than with traditional paper menus. Some digital ordering platforms support A/B tests like changing photos or pricing on some customers’ menus, but not on others, so you can test ideas before officially rolling them out.

 

Who’s ordering, how are they ordering, and what are they ordering?

  1. Many food delivery customers are using food delivery apps for the first time. A study of over 100,000 food delivery app reviews mentioned phrases like “first time” 36% more frequently in 2020 than in 2019.

  2. Millennials and Gen Z are spending a significant chunk of their paychecks on food delivery or at restaurants. After groceries, dining out is the second-highest monthly spending category for both generations.

  3. According to a 2020 National Restaurant Association study, millennials are the food delivery generation. Three-quarters of millennial respondents had ordered takeout or delivery for dinner in the past week.

  4. Millennials aren’t the only generation who loves their takeout, though. The National Restaurant Association found that while just 41% of baby boomers had ordered delivery last week during their March 2020 survey, that number grew to 60% when the same group was surveyed in November 2020.

  5. Sausage or pepperoni? The average pizza order placed online is 18% larger than pizza-lovers who ordered over the phone. 

  6. But it’s not just pizza; revenue from online orders in general is around 23% higher than an in-person order. 

  7. No love for the humble onion! The most popular special request on UberEats in 2020 was “no onion.” Runners up were “extra sauce” and “no tomatoes.”

  8. 35% of delivery and takeout customers - and 53% of millennial customers - said they would be more likely to order from a restaurant that offered to-go alcoholic beverages.

  9. In a 2019 study of top complaints related to food delivery, 17% of consumers said their food arrived not warm or not fresh, and 16% said their food arrived late.

  10. Customers don’t always place their mobile orders with a few taps of a finger. About 14% of people have used voice assistants, like Siri and Alexa, to order food delivery while they’re driving.

  11. Google has integrated food delivery options into Google Maps and Google Search listings for restaurants, making it even easier for consumers to find restaurants that offer mobile ordering and delivery.

  12. Mother’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Halloween are the most popular holidays for food delivery, according to a 2020 DoorDash report.

  13. Speed is the name of the game. The average delivery window for food is around 35 minutes, but 27% of people say they would be willing to pay extra for their food to arrive faster.

  14. The volume of off-premises food orders placed online surpassed the volume of phone orders back in 2017.

  15. French fries were the most popular menu item in the US on UberEats in March 2020, while cheesecake was the most frequently ordered dessert.

 

What else is happening in the food delivery and mobile ordering space?

  1. A May 2020 Wall Street Journal study found that out of all off-premise restaurant sales, 53% were carry-out orders, 38% were drive-thru orders, and only 9% were delivery orders.

  2. Loyalty programs can be a major driver in revenue growth at restaurants. 39% of consumers said they would spend more at restaurants that offered some sort of loyalty perks, but only 62% of restaurants studied had loyalty programs.

  3. Boo! Although they sound like a room in a haunted house, ghost kitchens are proving to be a very real success story. By the mid-2020, the US was home to over 1500 ghost kitchens, which are commercial kitchens that serve food to customers exclusively via delivery. Ghost kitchens aren’t always standalone locations; sometimes “virtual restaurants” will rent kitchen space from hotels or restaurants during their off-hours.

  4. As long as customers continue to use food delivery services, ghost kitchens aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. Euromonitor predicts that ghost kitchens will grow to a trillion-dollar industry by 2030.

  5. A 2019 survey found that 21% of food delivery customers suspected a driver of taking some of their food order, and 85% of consumers wished that restaurants would use tamper-evident packaging.

  6. More consumers want contactless solutions, as demonstrated in a late 2020 survey that showed consumers’ top payment options were contactless credit cards (43%) and contactless debit cards (39%). Digital ordering allows restaurant customers to pay online and avoid paying in-person entirely.

  7. Technology doesn’t only offer extra convenience for consumers; 95% of restaurateurs say technology helps them run their businesses more efficiently.

 

What statistics were most surprising to you? As the food delivery and online ordering trend continues to grow, there are surely more surprises in store.