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2024 Consumer Trends in Restaurant & Alcohol Delivery

Explore today's dining habits and get industry insights from the 2024 Restaurant & Alcohol Online Ordering Trends Report.

5/14/24
10 min read
DoorDash pickup bags with stickers

The 2024 Restaurant & Alcohol Online Ordering Trends report features insights from a survey of 1,522 consumers across the US, plus aggregate data from DoorDash. Every year, DoorDash takes an in-depth look at how consumer habits are changing and what they care about most when ordering food or alcohol for delivery or pickup. 

In the report, you'll learn the latest restaurant and alcohol online ordering trends, with answers to these questions and more:

  • How have overall dining activities changed since last year?

  • What are US consumers' current food and alcohol ordering preferences?

  • How do restaurant online ordering habits differ by generation and gender?

Read on for the top ten takeaways from the 2024 report, and learn how to apply these insights to your restaurant to provide a positive experience for off-premise guests. 

Want more than a quick bite of the data? Dive into the details by downloading the full report

How are people dining in 2024?

Just like last year, our survey found that ordering delivery or takeout from restaurants happens slightly more often than dining at restaurants. 

When asked which of the following activities they did in the last month, 90% of consumers cooked a meal, 70% ordered food for delivery or takeout, and 68% dined at a restaurant.

Top 10 restaurant and alcohol online ordering trends in 2024

One of the most common themes that persists year over year among consumer food ordering preferences is convenience. For example, people love that with restaurant delivery, they don't have to leave the house. The top reason that 63% of consumers across generations say they ordered food delivery is because of the convenience, followed by 43% who said they didn't feel like going out.

On the whole, consumers in the US have embraced online ordering and delivery as part of their lifestyle, placing repeat orders frequently and seeking out new places while they browse social media. 

Here are the biggest takeaways from the 2024 Restaurant & Alcohol Online Ordering Trends Report

1. One in 5 Gen Zers eat their delivery food in bed.

For consumers, comfort is key when enjoying takeout or delivery at home. 52% of consumers overall eat their delivery food on the couch, followed by only 32% who eat at a kitchen table. But when looking at generational breakdowns, 21% of Gen Zers most often eat delivery from the comfort of their… bed! 

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2. Menu photos and social media influences diners more than ever.

Consumers' reliance on imagery has increased 11% year over year, with 38% of consumers in 2024 citing food photography as a factor in choosing a restaurant for delivery or pickup. 19% of consumers use restaurant social media channels and 17% turn to social media influencers when looking for new restaurants.

Of those who use social media to find new restaurants, Instagram is the most popular platform overall. Among younger consumers, 30% of Gen Zers prefer TikTok for restaurant discovery, followed by Instagram (29%). For Millennials, the main social media sources are Instagram (29%) followed by YouTube (28%).

TikTok is the top choice among women looking for new restaurants on social media, with men preferring YouTube and Instagram. Restaurant operators, it's time to work on your video content!

3. Most delivery customers say "no thanks" to doing the dishes.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of consumers enjoy their delivery food directly from the takeout container. For convenience-focused Gen Z, that increases to 73% — while most Baby Boomers (55%) instead tend to use their own dishes and utensils.  

Appeal to younger generations' eco-conscious leanings by investing in eco-friendly packaging. High-quality, leak-proof containers are a must for a positive delivery experience.

4. Food and alcohol delivery cut down the hassle of hosting.

Almost four in ten (39%) consumers order food delivery when they host people at their house, cutting down on kitchen time in favor of mingling with guests.

Parties or celebrations is also the second-most popular reason consumers order alcohol delivery (after 52% who say they want to treat themselves). 

In cities, where fewer consumers have cars, delivery helps eliminate a major hassle for hosts. 22% of shoppers cited the ease of not having to carry alcoholic beverages home as their top reason for ordering delivery. 

5. Third-party apps are consumers' preferred way to browse for food and order delivery — a continued trend year over year.

When trying to decide on a restaurant to order delivery or takeout, more than half (51%) of consumers prefer to use a third-party platform like DoorDash. 86% of diners also reported ordering delivery from these third-party apps at least twice a month.

6. Diners prefer to order from local restaurants.

Consistent with last year, a third (33%) of consumers actively seek out local restaurants (defined as those with only one location in their area) when ordering food for takeout or delivery. Menu selection continues to be the #1 reason why they choose to try a new restaurant, and 56% of consumers choose restaurants they visit often when ordering delivery or takeout. 

7. Repeat restaurant delivery orders have become a weekly habit for Americans.

Nearly half (49%) of consumers report ordering repeat restaurant delivery orders at least once a week. 

For restaurant operators, a seamless online ordering experience helps to keep customers coming back. And tapping into the customer base of third-party apps like DoorDash can help restaurants reach new diners beyond their neighborhood. 

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8. For men, food delivery is often a last-minute save.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of consumers report using restaurant delivery for last-minute needs in the past month. 

These urgent orders are more common among men, with 79% reporting a recent last-minute food delivery compared to 64% of women. Across generations, Millennials (30%) and Gen Zers (26%) are more likely to order food in a pinch than Gen X (13%) or Baby Boomers (1%).

9. Off-peak hours continue to gain popularity for ordering food.

Orders unsurprisingly spike on DoorDash around lunch and dinner, but we've seen continued growth in late-night orders (12–5am), with a 44% increase year over year. Breakfast orders (5–11am) also saw a jump in popularity, growing 29% year over year. 

Small businesses can take advantage of these off-peak hours and find a new audience of potential customers beyond the lunch and dinner rush. Consider extending your hours for a month or two, and track whether the increase in sales justifies the additional staffing costs.  

10. A special occasion or just a special treat? Why consumers are using alcohol delivery.

The top reason consumers order alcohol for delivery is to treat themselves. A large swath of consumers (39%) also report that the reason they choose alcohol delivery is it allows them to shop from the comfort of their own home, with time-savings (37%), and not having to leave their house at an inconvenient time (30%) as other popular reasons to order alcohol for delivery.

This year, consumers say they most often order wine or champagne (59%), beer (56%), and ready-to-drink cocktails (56%) for delivery, compared to last year's top choices of malt beverages and hard ciders. Help customers celebrate by offering alcohol gift packages curated for special occasions like holidays, graduations, and anniversaries. 

Get even more consumer dining and ordering trends and tips for the year ahead

Download the 2024 Restaurant and Alcohol Online Ordering Trends report and use the insights on delivery and pickup to take your guest experiences to the next level.

Author

Katherine Boyarsky
Katherine Boyarsky

Content Marketing

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