20 Food Delivery and Online Ordering Statistics for 2021

Updated on September 6, 2021

Overview: Food Delivery and Online Ordering Statistics and Trends for 2021

  1. More than 112 million Americans say they’ve used a food delivery service.
  2. The online food delivery industry generates more than $26.5 billion.
  3. By 2024, online food delivery services project to be a $32 billion industry.
  4. 60% of American consumers order takeout or delivery at least once a week.
  5. 31% of American consumers use third-party food delivery services at least twice a week.
  6. Online ordering is growing 300% faster than in-house dining.
  7. 70% of consumers would prefer to order directly from a restaurant rather than use a third-party service.
  8. 59% of millennial restaurant orders are for takeout or delivery.
  9. Consumers who order pizza online spend 18% more than orders placed over the phone on average.
  10. 33% of consumers say they would pay a higher fee for faster delivery.
  11. 45% of consumers say that mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more.
  12. 41% of consumers say, if offered, they would purchase a make-at-home meal kit from their favorite restaurant.
  13. GrubHub is the most popular food delivery service in New York City.
  14. DoorDash is the most popular food delivery service in San Francisco.
  15. Uber Eats is the most popular food delivery service in Miami.
  16. Postmates is the most popular food delivery service in Los Angeles.
  17. 60% of restaurant operators say that offering delivery has generated incremental sales.
  18. Working with a third-party delivery service raises restaurant sales volume by 10-20%.
  19. 43% of restaurant professionals believe third-party apps interfere with a direct relationship with their customers.
  20. Customers who place an online order with a restaurant will visit that restaurant 67% more frequently than those who don’t.

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.

General Food Delivery and Online Ordering Statistics

1. Almost 112 million Americans say they’ve used a food delivery service in 2020.

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. [1]

2. The online food delivery industry has generated $26.5 billion in 2020.

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. [1]

3. By 2024, online food delivery services project to be a $32 billion industry.

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. [1]

4. 60% of American consumers order takeout or delivery at least once a week.

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. [2]

5. 31% of American consumers use third-party food delivery services at least twice a week.

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. [3]

6. Online ordering is growing 300% faster than in-house dining.

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. [2]

Consumer Trends in Online Ordering

7. 70% of consumers would prefer to order directly from a restaurant rather than use a third-party service.

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. [4]

8. 59% of millennial restaurant orders are for takeout or delivery.

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. [5]

9. Consumers who order pizza online spend 18% more than orders placed over the phone on average.

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. [6]

10. 33% of consumers say they would pay a higher fee for faster delivery.

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. [2]

11. 45% of consumers say that mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more.

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). [2]

12. 41% of consumers say, if offered, they would purchase a make-at-home meal kit from their favorite restaurant.

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? [7]

Online Ordering Platform Statistics

13. GrubHub is the most popular food delivery service in New York City.

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. [8]

14. DoorDash is the most popular food delivery service in San Francisco.

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. [9]

15. Uber Eats is the most popular food delivery service in Miami.

Uber Eats rules in South Beach, where it accounts for 62% of online ordering sales. [10]

16. Postmates is the most popular food delivery service in Los Angeles.

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. [11]

Online Ordering and Restaurants

17. 60% of restaurant operators say that offering delivery has generated incremental sales.

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. [12]

18. Working with a third-party delivery service raises restaurant sales volume by 10 to 20%.

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. [2]

19. 43% of restaurant professionals believe third-party apps interfere with a direct relationship with their customers.

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. [4]

20. Customers who place an online order with a restaurant will visit that restaurant 67% more frequently than those who don’t.

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. [13]

The Bottom Line on Food Delivery and Online Ordering

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.