Diners are second-guessing their holiday plans, according to the third installment of BentoBox’s Restaurant Delivery Consumer Trend Report. The year-long study is tracking how U.S. consumers’ delivery and takeout habits evolve through COVID-19 recovery.
Sixty-four percent of diners are very or somewhat likely to change their dining habits over the next few months given the Delta variant and surging cases nationally. This could be sign that takeout and delivery ordering could rebound in Q4. Seventy-six percent of diners ordered takeout or delivery at least once per week in October, down from 85 percent in June as restaurants reopened for indoor dining over the summer months. Additionally, nearly one-in-four (23 percent) diners did not order takeout or delivery at all on a weekly basis, up from 15 percent in the June survey.
When asked about why they would opt for delivery and takeout this holiday season in lieu of visiting a restaurant, 49 percent of diners said that ordering is more convenient than cooking, while 39 percent of diners reported that the Delta variant made them apprehensive to visit restaurants. Notably, only 5 percent of diners plan to visit a restaurant during the holidays instead of ordering takeout and delivery online, a sign that restaurants should optimize their ordering infrastructure to account for a higher volume of takeout and delivery orders.
Diners over 35 years of age are the most likely to not visit a restaurant due to spiking COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant, while younger diners are not as concerned. 49 percent of Diners aged 65+ are nervous to visit a restaurant due to the Delta variant, followed by diners aged 35-64 (42 percent).
Among the other key takeaways:
- Ordering frequency dwindled for even the most frequent orderers of takeout and delivery. In June, 50 percent of diners ordered from a restaurant more than two times per week. In October, that number fell to 35 percent – a 15-point decrease.
- Friday is the most popular night for delivery and takeout, with 39 percent of diners typically ordering food at the end of the work week. Other popular days include Saturday (24 percent), Wednesday (11 percent), and Thursday (9 percent).
- While 18-34-year-old diners are most likely to explore restaurant meal kits, over nine-in-ten (93 percent) diners prefer to order delivery and takeout for individual and multi-person meals for the household.
Preference for third-party marketplaces falls as diners note ease, costs, and restaurant support as their top motivations for ordering delivery and takeout. As the restaurant industry continues its digital transformation, diners are looking less to third-party marketplaces for their convenience. 14 percent of diners in October preferred the ease and convenience of a third-party marketplace, a 50 percent decrease from the March survey (28 percent).
When deciding whether to order directly through a restaurant versus via a third-party marketplace, ease of ordering (46 percent), promotions and discounts (44 percent) and benefit to the restaurant (34 percent) were top considerations among diners.
Younger diners prioritize the cost of ordering: 44 percent of diners aged 18-24 are likely to order based on the option with the lowest delivery fee, while diners aged 25-34 are most likely to take promotions and discounts into account before ordering takeout or delivery.
Powered by Suzy Insights, BentoBox’s Q3 survey features insights from 1,034 U.S. diners, ages 18+, who dined out at least once per week prior to the pandemic.