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2023 Canadian Restaurant Consumer Trends and Food Delivery Statistics

Learn about restaurant consumer trends and online food ordering statistics impacting Canadian restaurants in the 2023 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends Report.

8 min read
2023-09-12
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The 2023 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends report is a new industry resource that’s here to help Canadian restaurants optimize their businesses and stay on top of restaurant trends. Restaurant consumer dining habits are always changing — so every year, DoorDash surveys 1,500+ Canadians and digs into aggregate DoorDash data to learn all about the consumer dining trends impacting the restaurant industry.

In this year’s report, you’ll learn: 

  • How have overall dining activities changed?

  • What are Canadian consumers’ current restaurant ordering habits?

  • What are the latest pickup and delivery preferences?

  • What are the most popular foods, meals, and times to order pickup and delivery?

Read on for the top ten consumer trends in the restaurant industry for 2023 and how they impact your business. Want more than a highlights reel? Dive deeper into the data by downloading the full report

Food consumer trends: How are people dining in 2023?

Among Canadians, takeout is by far the most popular way to engage with a restaurant. Respondents shared that they ordered in the following ways in the past month, 

  • 78% of consumers reported picking up takeout

  • 62% of consumers reported dining at a restaurant

  • 58% of consumers reported ordering food delivery 

This year, 20% more Canadians are ordering takeout than delivery. Why? 42% said they prefer takeout because they can get their food faster than if it was delivered, and 40% said they opt for takeout because fees are lower. 

Despite rising costs of living across the country, Canadians are still loving going to restaurants and ordering online as a treat, as a way to feed their families during peak busy times, and as a way to support their neighbourhood businesses. In fact, 51% of Canadians order food on a third-party platform 2-4 times a month. 

As for when they’re ordering food, Canadians are most often ordering from restaurants on Fridays. 6 pm is the most popular time of the day to order food — those post-work hunger pangs are no joke. 

However, this year, we also saw rapid growth in the late-night and breakfast categories, with late night orders (12–5am) increasing by 68% year-over-year, and breakfast orders (5–11am) increasing 53%. Restaurant owners can consider expanding your hours to include more off-peak options for consumers who want to order outside of traditional meal times.

Top 10 restaurant ordering, delivery, and pickup trends in 2023

One of the most prevalent themes among Canadian consumer food ordering preferences is convenience. For example, as you'll see below, younger consumers with busy lifestyles love the time savings of local restaurant delivery, and people across generations keep it simple by placing repeat orders from their favourite neighbourhood spots. 

1. Food delivery is a last-minute save for busy consumers.

58% of consumers reported recently ordering food delivery to save them during a time-sensitive situation where they needed food last-minute — like having friends coming over out of the blue, working late and needing dinner, or running out of a key ingredient for the day’s planned meal.

Over the past month, Gen Z (16%) and Millennials (11%) were more likely to order last-minute food daily or a few times a week than Gen X (5%) or Baby Boomers (4%).

2. Diners love the convenience of placing repeat orders from their favourite restaurants.

In addition to getting into the habit of ordering takeout and delivery on a regular basis, consumers have also started placing repeat orders from the same business. 25% of consumers reported placing repeat orders at least once a week, and 62% of consumers order takeout from restaurants they already visit on a regular basis. When it works, it works — and consumers often crave familiar favorites.

Business tip: Use email marketing to reach out to customers who ordered online a few weeks ago to remind them to order again, helping them build the habit of returning to your restaurant. Offering a small discount through DoorDash Promotions can also help encourage that first repeat order.

3. Many consumers are interested in trying new restaurants, cuisines, and menu items.

14% of Canadians specifically look for new restaurants they’ve never tried before when ordering food for delivery or takeout — which makes online ordering marketplaces with active consumer bases a great way to expand your business’s reach. 

Plus, once a diner is familiar with your restaurant, they'll likely want to broaden their horizons within your menu: 92% of Canadian consumers often or occasionally try new menu items.

4. Millennials and Gen Z absolutely love online ordering.

Millennials and Gen Z are more likely than older generations to have increased how much they ordered food online in the past year — with Gen Z leading the way. Over 30% of Gen Zers said they’re getting more takeout than last year.

The takeaway? In order to tap into this growing demographic — who values both convenience and great food — consider ramping up your restaurant’s social media strategy, as it’s one of the best ways to reach young customers.

Speaking of which… 

5. Social media and food photos matter to diners across the generations.

Though Gen Zers are most swayed by social media and food photos when it comes to choosing a new restaurant to try for delivery or takeout, these strategies appeal to all generations: 20% of Gen Z, 18% of Millennials, 14% of Gen X, and 10% of Baby Boomers reference a restaurant’s social pages to decide where to order from. 

And over 30% of respondents across all generations said food photography was an important factor as well — after all, we eat with our eyes first!

DoorDash partners: Did you know? If you don't have high-quality photos, DoorDash will pay for a professional photographer to come to your restaurant and photograph some of your most popular dishes at no cost. Learn more about adding photos to your DoorDash menu

6. Using third-party delivery apps has become a regular habit for Canadians.

Because they provide ease, convenience, and access to their favourite foods, third-party delivery apps have become a regular part of Canadians’ lives. 

51% of Canadians use third-party delivery apps between 2-4 times a month, with around 10% using them 5-7 times a month — so it’s important to promote your restaurant’s online ordering page across your website, social media, email, and other digital channels . Make it as easy as possible for consumers to find and place orders from your restaurant.

7. Local restaurants are still feeling the love.

Since the pandemic brought on completely new challenges for small businesses, Canadians gained a deeper appreciation for just how tough it can be to run a restaurant. They realized that they can each do their part to make sure their favourite local restaurants thrive for years to come. 

In 2023, 35% of respondents said they actively seek out local restaurants (defined as those with only one location in their area). 

Baby Boomers were the group that placed the most emphasis on local restaurants, with 48% of them actively supporting local spots when they order in. 39% of Gen X, 34% of Millennials, and 24% of Gen Z also made an effort to support local.

8. Menu selection and pricing are the top factors when choosing a restaurant.

When it comes down to it, diners are choosing to get takeout or delivery from your restaurant based on what you offer and how much it costs. 

Menu selection (55%) and menu pricing (51%) were the two top-rated factors consumers consider when seeking out a new restaurant to try for delivery or pickup — which means restaurants can reach new customers and boost their profits by analyzing their menu offerings and doing regular menu engineering to promote the right menu items at the right price.

9. Classic comfort food dominates the most-ordered foods… but salad also crept in. 

The top five most-ordered menu items on DoorDash in 2022 were:

  1. Burgers 🍔

  2. French fries 🍟

  3. Pizza 🍕

  4. Salad 🥗

  5. Sandwiches 🥪

Much of the list is made up of comfort foods that travel well — but this year, we’re also seeing salad in the top five for the first time. As long as it’s packed with the dressing on the side and well-sealed in a food delivery container, salad can be a great takeout and delivery item. Try offering a seasonal salad on your menu to cater to health-conscious consumers. 

10. Canadians love walking to pick up their takeout — but parents of young kids prefer drive-through. 

In Canada, grabbing pickup orders on foot is the most common method of getting takeout. That means restaurants can stand to gain new takeout regulars if they advertise to their neighbours using hyper-local marketing strategies like direct mail, SEO optimization, and co-marketing with neighbouring businesses.

However, 35% of Canadians with young children under six years old prefer drive-through pickup, as it’s much easier to keep the kids in their carseats instead of wrangling them down the street.

In order to make the takeout experience smoother for all customers, learn more about optimizing your restaurant for pickup orders.

Online ordering trends in French-speaking provinces in Canada

In addition to surveying a population of English-speaking Canadians, we looked at ordering trends in a survey of 1,000+ Canadians in French-speaking provinces like Quebec — here are some highlights. 

  1. Consumers in French-speaking provinces also seek convenience — 7 in 10 French-speaking Canadians report ordering pickup or delivery in the past month.

  2. Nearly one-third of respondents prefer browsing for restaurants via third-party platforms, up from 21% last year.

  3. Like Canadians in the English-speaking provinces, the top two most important considerations for choosing new restaurants for French-speaking Canadians are menu pricing and selection. 

  4. 31% of respondents in French-speaking provinces choose to order through third-party apps rather than directly because it’s more convenient. 

  5. More than half of respondents (53%) in French-speaking provinces ordered delivery via third-party platforms more than 5 times in the past month.

  6. 53% of respondents in French-speaking provinces try new menu items to experience different cuisines. 

Most respondents report ordering delivery at least a few times per month, primarily for the convenience factor. And third-party apps have become the preferred way for French-speaking Canadians to order delivery. 

When ordering online, consumers in the French-speaking Canadian market care about low fees, a good ordering experience, and fast delivery speeds. And 31% of respondents in this region consider food photos and a restaurant’s website or app when choosing new places to dine out.

Stay on top of consumer preferences with the 2023 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends Report 

Download the full Restaurant Online Ordering Trends Report today to understand the latest consumer dining preferences — then start applying these insights to grow your business. 

If you’re interested in partnering with DoorDash for direct or third-party online ordering, check out our products and pricing.

Survey conducted by Dynata on behalf of DoorDash. DoorDash surveyed 1,511 customers across Canada in April 2023. DoorDash also explored proprietary data from DoorDash platform usage in FY22 and FY21.

Author

Diana Donovan

Diana Donovan

Copywriter

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