Remember the days when you had to call a restaurant to make a delivery order? If you didn’t feel like going out, the options in your neighborhood were probably limited to pizza or Chinese food. How times have changed.
Companies like GrubHub, Uber, and DoorDash have completely revolutionized the restaurant industry. Now, whether you want takeout or delivery, practically every restaurant in your area is reachable via a third-party app. Unsurprisingly, this has led to changes in the way people interact with restaurants and how restaurant owners operate. Add in the unexpected, forced transition to takeout-only for many restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 has been a landmark year for food delivery and online ordering.
Whether you run a business, are thinking about starting a delivery service, or just like food, it’s worth knowing the food delivery statistics, online ordering statistics, and trends that define this rapidly growing industry. Here, we’ll lay out the most important things to know for 2020 and beyond.
That represents a 17% year-over-year increase from 2019. Between the regular growth of the industry and increased takeout and delivery demand spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, food delivery services grew faster than ever over the past year. 
More people ordering should correlate to an increase in revenue, right? That is, in fact, the case as this number represents a 20% increase year over year. 
Food delivery and online ordering are expected to show an annual growth rate of 5.1% from now until 2024, which would make it a $32 billion industry by 2024. 
Americans love eating out, but they also love eating in. It’s no secret that sometimes life gets too busy to cook, but the fact that more than half of Americans order out at least once a week is a promising trend for food delivery services. 
Not everyone orders food at least once a week, and not everyone uses a third-party app to do it, but a significant chunk of Americans use apps like GrubHub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats twice or more every week. 
Since 2014, online ordering has grown at an astonishing pace. The numbers are somewhat skewed by recent restaurant shutdowns due to COVID-19, but it’s no secret that demand for online ordering is trending in the opposite direction of demand for in-house dining. 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, GrubHub bills went viral as restaurants revealed just how much the food delivery platform charged businesses for using their service. Naturally, this sparked some consumer outrage during an economically turbulent time. Recent surveys indicate that most Americans would prefer to order directly from a restaurant if the service is available. 
Millennials tend to be at the forefront of trends, and online ordering is no exception. More than half of all their restaurant orders are for takeout or delivery rather than eating on-site. 
Although this study was done specifically around pizza restaurants, it’s fair to project that people who order online tend to spend more than they do if they order over the phone. Online, it’s easy to implement delivery fees, platform fees, driver tips, and more upcharges. Despite the extra spending, however, people haven’t stopped ordering online, suggesting they’ll gladly pay for the convenience. 
In fact, a third of consumers would even pay more to ensure they get their food faster. Clearly, fees for using an online platform are not a significant deterrent for most consumers. 
Just because people are using online ordering services more than ever doesn’t mean they can’t still be doing it even more. Nearly half of consumers would use them more if they’re more convenient (mobile ordering) or come with incentives (loyalty programs). 
You’ve probably heard of meal kit services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. But a make-at-home meal kit from your favorite restaurant? It’s a concept many restaurants have discussed or rolled out, and nearly half of consumers say they’d try. Who wouldn’t want to be able to make their favorite meatball sub at home whenever they feel like it? 
GrubHub is the food delivery king in the country’s largest city. GrubHub accounts for 53% of the online ordering market in NYC. In comparison, GrubHub accounts for just 7% of sales in Miami. 
DoorDash was founded in San Francisco, so it makes sense that it controls a significant share of the food delivery market. DoorDash accounts for an astounding 65% of all food delivery sales in San Francisco. Surprisingly another giant based in the Bay — Uber Eats — accounts for only 14% of food delivery sales. 
Uber Eats rules in South Beach, where it accounts for 62% of online ordering sales. 
Finally, Postmates is the most popular food delivery service in Los Angeles, where all services are competing for a plurality of sales. Postmates represents just 31% of food delivery sales in the city. Postmates is more prevalent on the West Coast, which is clearly illustrated by the mere 1% of market share it represents in the major East Coast market of Philadelphia. 
Most restaurant owners feel that delivery truly adds value to their businesses rather than detracts. Just 11% of owners feel delivery impacts dine-in business negatively while only 7% say it impacts takeout sales negatively. Offering delivery, then, has the potential to open up new revenue streams rather than derail existing ones. 
In fact, studies show that third-party delivery services have a positive impact on restaurant sales. Simply offering delivery makes a restaurant more attractive to a larger swath of the population and allows them to reach more customers who wouldn’t otherwise think to go there. Of course, third-party delivery services often come with a number of fees, so creating an independent online ordering platform is likely preferable. 
Although third-party apps increase sales volume, nearly half of restaurant owners feel they create distance between restaurants and their customers. One of the biggest issues? Third-party apps withhold data that would be extremely valuable for restaurants to understand who their customers are. 
One of the greatest benefits of offering online ordering is simply existing somewhere beyond a storefront. Customers who find a restaurant online and enjoy the food are not only more likely to order again, but they’re also significantly more likely to visit that restaurant in person, too. 
Everybody’s getting takeout online, and the trend is only going to continue growing at exponential rates. Today, it’s essential for restaurants to offer delivery and utilize online ordering to make their businesses more efficient and profitable. But while third-party apps are often convenient, they’re rarely the best choice for restaurant owners. People prefer to support businesses directly, which means setting up an independent online ordering and delivery system is in a restaurant’s best interest.