US digital and non-digital carry-out restaurant orders down 2% during February 2020-February 2022 period, while delivery and drive-thru orders rise 116% and 20%, respectively, during same time period, according to the NPD Group

Sample article from our Foodservice Industry

CHICAGO , April 26, 2022 (press release) –

—More than half of carry-out orders are placed at the counter 

Restaurant carry-out, which dates back to ancient Rome, has provided a convenient eating solution for time-strapped civilizations for ages. However, with consumers always looking for the next level of convenience, like not getting out of the car, delivery and drive-thru orders have taken hold, making carry-out the less convenient service mode, reports The NPD Group. Carry-out orders were lagging drive-thru and delivery orders before the pandemic, and this trend accelerated during the pandemic based on NPD’s continual tracking of the U.S. restaurant industry. 

From February 2020 through February 2022, digital and non-digital carry-out restaurant orders declined by 2%, while delivery increased by 116%, and drive-thru grew by 20%. Digital ordering, which grew by 117% in the two years, contributed to the delivery and drive-thru growth. Although digital carry-out orders doubled through the pandemic, these gains were offset by a double-digit decline in non-digital pickup orders that account for the bulk of pickup orders. In the year ending February 2022, 76% of carry-out were non-digital orders, and these orders declined by 16% compared to the prior year. Non-digital drive-thru orders increased by 20% in the same period, and non-digital delivery, which represents 25% of delivery orders, increased by 25%. 

“Several factors have encouraged consumers to move away from ordering carry out. The convenience of drive-thrus, delivery, and mobile ordering, in addition to dining room closures, have influenced consumers’ willingness to get out of their car, walk into a restaurant, and order to go,” says David Portalatin, NPD Food Industry Advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Convenience rules and the more convenient options will win.”

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