The how and why behind off-premises business has shifted in recent months.

Ever since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, off-premises dining has been on the rise. 

And according to DoorDash’s Restaurant Online Ordering Trends Report, which surveyed more than 1,500 consumers in the U.S., delivery and takeout have continued to garner preference. The report states 83 percent of customers ordered delivery food as much or more than they did last year, and 83 percent ordered takeout food as much or more than they did in 2021.

One key change from 2021, though, is how consumers are starting the ordering process. Before, they first thought about restaurants near their location. Now, in 2022, 60 percent more consumers go first to a food delivery app or website. Similarly, 35 percent more head directly to a restaurant’s app or website, signaling a shift to a more digitally facing way of ordering.

The most popular delivery and pickup cuisine from DoorDash in the U.S. this year was American, with French fries topping the list.

Consumers are also trying new things, with 92 percent choosing fresh menu items often or occasionally. They also enjoyed trying new restaurants; 60 percent of purchasers tried a new restaurant on DoorDash in Q1 of 2022. Customers cited the top reasons for trying these new items as the opportunity to order new foods and boredom from the same dishes. 

DoorDash graph.

When deciding between ordering directly from the restaurant or through a third-party app, the report said guests valued a good ordering experience, accurate delivery times, and customer support services as their top priorities.

When it came to ordering preferences, 38 percent of consumers liked to order directly from the restaurant’s website or app, decreasing from last year’s 43 percent. In comparison, more people are tapping a third-party delivery platform—37 percent, up from 27 percent last year.

According to the study, consumers are mostly choosing third-party apps because they are easy to use, convenient, and familiar. Consumers who decided to order directly from the restaurant instead of a third-party app also cited convenience and ease of use as top reasons they went that route, but 23 percent also noted lower delivery fees as a reason.

In terms of the most popular time to order delivery, customers were pretty consistent. Friday was the most popular day and 6 p.m. the most popular time. 

However, the breakfast daypart saw a large increase in orders. Orders between 5 and 10 a.m. on DoorDash have witnessed a 3x increase from last year.

Consumers who choose to get their food delivered versus going in and picking up said it’s more convenient to do so, they don’t want to go out, and want to avoid exposure to COVID-19, the report noted.

On the other hand, when customers order takeout, 48 percent do so through a restaurant or app and 29 percent call the restaurant to order. In comparison, only 21 percent of consumers prefer to use a third-party app for pickup.

People who favor pickup cited the top reasons they prefer it over delivery in the report—they can get the food more quickly, they happen to be nearby the restaurant, and the fees were lower than delivery. 

Delivery, Feature