Restaurants' Digital and Delivery Orders Jump More than 60% in March: Study

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Restaurants' Digital and Delivery Orders Jump More than 60% in March: Study

05/14/2020

With 97% of U.S. restaurants impacted by mandated dine-in closures by mid-March, the month was disastrous for America’s foodservice industry. Restaurant traffic declined by 22% in the month compared to same month year ago, but a testament to the U.S. consumers’ want for someone other than themselves to make their meals, digital restaurant orders increased by 63% and delivery by 67% in March, reports The NPD Group.

Visits to quick service restaurants (QSR), many of which already had off-premise operations in place prior to the dine-in closures, decreased by 19%. QSRs represented the majority of the digital and delivery order gains. Drive-thru QSR visits declined by 3%, but family or larger party size visits drove dollars up by 2% and average eater check increased by 5%, according to NPD’s CREST®, which tracks daily restaurant usage across the U.S.

It's clear that consumers are not willing to give up on the convenience and experience a restaurant meal brings to them and their families regardless of the barriers.
David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor

Full service restaurants (FSR), which were already challenged prior to the pandemic, realized traffic declines of 35% in the month of March compared to year ago March. On-premise traffic share prior to the pandemic represented 80% of the FSR business and off-premise 20%. FSRs able to offer carry-out and delivery were able to lift the segment’s off-premise traffic share by 31%. The FSR average check size increased by 15% in the month.

“Our March results only show a portion of the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the U.S. restaurant industry,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Although it’s fact that a larger portion of food and beverage consumption has shifted to in-home, it’s clear that consumers are not willing to give up on the convenience and experience a restaurant meal brings to them and their families regardless of the barriers.”