Food Delivery Bumps into Drive-Thru

shutterstock_378877387Consumer patterns are shifting dramatically from drive-thru to home delivery, according to a recent study by the NPD Group.[1]

Food delivery has expanded beyond traditional pizza and Asian food options to include gourmet restaurant fare, burgers, healthy and local specialties, full service and fast casual options. Food delivery traffic excluding pizza delivery is up 33% since 2012.[2] Meanwhile, drive-thru traffic is down substantially, the study revealed.[3]

What’s driving the change? Several factors are at play:

  • No time to wait – Younger generations of consumers are in large part driving this change. Millennials through Generation Z, which together comprise 51% of the U.S. population,[iv] expect to order, pay and arrange for fast delivery with minimal effort.
  • There’s an app for that – Smartphone apps for food delivery are booming. Multiple restaurant aggregators offer delivery options to restaurants at a reasonable fee or a mixed model that charges both the restaurant and the consumer. With the rapid growth of food delivery services like UberEATS, Amazon Prime Now and Postmates, restaurants don’t need to hire drivers, purchase delivery vehicles or pay for insurance.
  • Healthier options – Drive-thru food is perceived by many consumers as less healthy than home delivery options. Although fast-food restaurants continue to add healthier options to their menus, delivered meals currently enjoy a healthier reputation.
  • Just like home cooking – Many consumers want to have a dining out experience without leaving home. They want to minimize stress by staying at home, spending more time with family and saving money. Having quality food delivered is convenient and enhances their mealtime experience.
  • Be your own chef – In-home meal kits from sources like Blue Apron have been available for a few years. Now local chefs are offering similar packages for delivery in many urban areas. These services bring fresh, often local ingredients to consumers and fuel the thrill of making gourmet meals at home with less effort.

[1] “Foodservice Delivery Grows at the Expense of Restaurant Drive Thru,” press release from the NPD Group, July 21, 2016. Available at: https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2016/foodservice-delivery-grows-at-the-expense-of-restaurant-drive-thru/

[2] “Delivery – A Growth Opportunity On The Horizon,” foodservice brief from the NPD Group, January 2016. Available at: https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/latest-reports/2016/delivery-a-growth-opportunity-on-the-horizon/

[3] “Foodservice Delivery Grows at the Expense of Restaurant Drive Thru,” press release from the NPD Group, July 21, 2016. Available at: https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2016/foodservice-delivery-grows-at-the-expense-of-restaurant-drive-thru/

[4] “Foodservice Delivery Grows at the Expense of Restaurant Drive Thru,” press release from the NPD Group, July 21, 2016. Available at: https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2016/foodservice-delivery-grows-at-the-expense-of-restaurant-drive-thru/

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