Consumers spent $769 billion ordering food from restaurants last year, according to a new report from Paytronix and PYMTS. Takeout orders accounted for $486 billion, or 63 percent. of those sales.
The report, based on a survey of U.S. consumers, is the latest in Paytronix’ ongoing “Delivering on Restaurant Rewards” series. Paytronix, of course, has skin in the game, it being a restaurant-tech company that specializes in digital ordering and payments solutions. That said, the report’s findings that underscore the popularity of takeout and digital ordering line up with other statistics we have seen over the last few months around the future of these ordering and eating formats.
Online ordering drove the majority of takeout orders in 2020, according to the Paytronix report. A total of 89 percent of consumers said they had placed their takeout order via a digital channel, such as an app, a website, or a third-party aggregator (e.g., DoorDash). The majority of those meals ordered digitally were from restaurants that, prior to the pandemic, had only ever offered dine-in service. “Our research shows that $264 billion, or 61 percent, of the $435 billion consumers spent on online food orders in 2020 was spent at restaurants that had only offered sit-down dining services prior to the outbreak,” notes the report.
Consumers also spent “50 percent more on average” when they placed takeout orders through digital channels.
Putting a takeout strategy in place was one of the first pieces of advice for restaurants to be widely circulated at the start of lockdowns last year. Takeout offered a way for restaurants to reach customers without serving them in the dining room, and could be done without coughing up the hefty commission fees third-party delivery services charge restaurants on delivery orders. For customers, too, takeout provided an often cheaper option, since they didn’t have to pay the service fees associated with delivery orders.
None of those factors are any less important now that we’re a year into this pandemic and restaurants have resumed (some) dine-in service. In fact, the future of the dining room is kind of a giant question mark right now, and restaurants are encouraged to continue building out a robust to-go business. Takeout is still arguably the most important part of those strategies.