With consumers always looking for the next level of convenience, like not getting out of the car, delivery and drive-through orders have taken hold. This is making carry-out the less convenient service mode, reports The NPD Group. Carry-out orders were lagging behind drive-through and delivery orders before the pandemic, and this trend accelerated during the pandemic based on NPD’s continual tracking of the U.S. restaurant industry.
From February 2020 through February 2022, digital and non-digital carry-out restaurant orders declined by 2%, while delivery increased by 116%, and drive-through grew by 20%. Digital ordering, which grew by 117% in the two years, contributed to the delivery and drive-through growth. Although digital carry-out orders doubled through the pandemic, these gains were offset by a double-digit decline in non-digital pickup orders that account for the bulk of pickup orders. In the year ending February 2022, 76% of carry-out were non-digital orders, and these orders declined by 16% compared to the prior year. Non-digital drive-through orders increased by 20% in the same period, and non-digital delivery, which represents 25% of delivery orders, increased by 25%.
“Several factors have encouraged consumers to move away from ordering carry out. The convenience of drive-throughs, delivery and mobile ordering, in addition to dining room closures, have influenced consumers’ willingness to get out of their car, walk into a restaurant and order to go,” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of “Eating Patterns in America.” “Convenience rules and the more convenient options will win.”
NPD is a global market information company offering data, industry expertise and prescriptive analytics to help its clients understand today’s retail landscape and prepare for the future. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on NPD to help them measure, predict and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar, e-commerce and B2B.