According to recent research, the rise of food delivery has become a major trend among consumers across all demographics. In 2018, Frost and Sullivan estimated the food delivery service industry generated $82 billion in gross revenue and predicted that this number will more than double by 2025. There are more than ten (and counting!) online food delivery companies in North America, another sign pointing to the increased demand for online food delivery.

To maintain a steady stream of revenue and stay competitive in the industry, restaurants must adapt to these changes in consumer habits. Based on the latest food delivery trends, here are some recommendations to help your restaurant evolve and remain financially stable in any economic climate: 

How customers choose restaurants for delivery

Most people turn to the Internet to find restaurants—in fact,90% of customers conduct online research before choosing a restaurant. Consumers typically use search engines, read online reviews, and look at a restaurant's website and menu for inspiration. They also look on Instagram and other social media channels and make decisions on what and where to eat based on their food preferences and budget. 

Considering increasing food delivery trends, restaurants should use search engine optimization techniques and food delivery service platforms as their main tools to boost online exposure. Since potential customers will most likely find your restaurant online, it makes sense to focus on improving local and national SEO rankings as part of your marketing strategy. The easier you make it for people to find you, the more new customers you can attract. 

Food delivery trends show a demand for customization 

In order to capitalize on the rise of food delivery, we recommend incorporating personalization options into your business. Following popular trends and consumer habits reported by Hospitality Insights, consider expanding your menu options with world cuisine and healthy items. You can also appeal to conscientious consumers by offering dishes made with organic and locally sourced ingredients. Not only will your food taste fresh, but your restaurant will be supporting farmers in the community. Staying in line with an environmentally-friendly image, you can use reusable or compostable packaging for delivery containers.

Hospitality Insights also reported that consumers want  to pay as soon as they order their meal. The preferred payment is by credit card or other contactless payment, making third party food platforms an appealing choice for many customers and businesses alike. 

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Get customer insights by partnering with a third-party food delivery service 

There are many benefits to partnering with a third-party food delivery platform. For one, it instantly boosts your online accessibility and exposure. It also provides useful customer data for your restaurant, which you can analyze for food delivery trends and patterns. DoorDash’s Merchant Portal, a free service included with a DoorDash partnership, allows you to export detailed sales reports for specific time periods and understand the habits and preferences of both new customers and your loyal regulars. Based on this information, you can adjust operations, menu items, and develop a targeted marketing strategy that will attract more repeat customers and create a steady stream of revenue.

Why customers use third-party food delivery services

A key to creating a more effective and targeted marketing strategy is to know exactly why your customers are ordering food delivery in the first place. A recent Gallup polled revealed that 72% of consumers order food delivery because they don’t want to leave their house, and 41% want to avoid bad weather. And according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association, more than 60% of Millennials want restaurants to use technology to make ordering takeout and delivery more convenient.

The main takeaway from these food delivery trends is that convenience is the most important factor for consumers opting for food delivery. Food delivery platforms are an easy way to improve the customer experience thanks to a simple ordering process and speedy delivery of your quality food to their doorsteps.

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Create an effective marketing strategy based on consumer profile

To create an effective marketing strategy for your food delivery service, take the time to review your own customer data.  You’ll make the most of today’srise of online food delivery when you base your strategies on the real-world needs and preferences of your customer base. If you know what your customers want, you’ll be able to create a customized marketing plan that targets your main audience. 

Food delivery customers are generally younger people up to 35 years old—a demographic that could include students, full-time employees, or work-at-home professionals. Knowing this information allows you to focus the majority of your time and effort on marketing to your biggest audience. 

And don’t be afraid to get creative.  If the weather forecast is bad in your area, try emailing customers with special delivery promotions and freebies. Also, promote loyalty programs on holidays and weekends, when people don't want to quit what they're doing. Lastly, we also recommend creating social media ads that emphasize the convenience of enjoying food no matter where customers are or what they're doing. 

For the latest industry trends and more tips on how to capitalize on the rise of online food delivery, check out the DoorDash blog today. 

Ready to grow your business with a third-party food delivery platform? Sign up for DoorDash for Merchants and maximize your food delivery service with minimal effort.