The Restaurant Online Ordering Trends report is a new industry resource featuring insights from a survey of 1,505 consumers across the US, plus aggregate data from DoorDash. Every year, DoorDash takes an in-depth look at how restaurant consumer habits are changing and what diners care about the most when ordering food for delivery or pickup.
In the report, you’ll learn the latest restaurant delivery trends and answer these questions and more:
How have overall dining activities changed?
What are US 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 restaurant delivery, pickup, and ordering trends for 2023, and learn how to consistently deliver a streamlined off-premise dining experience. Want more than a quick bite of the data? Dive into the details by downloading the full report.
How are people dining in 2023?
Overall, the most popular ways for people to dine in 2023 are cooking meals at home, ordering delivery from restaurants, and getting takeout.
Interestingly, the survey found that ordering delivery or takeout from restaurants is more popular than dining at restaurants.
Let’s get into the most notable consumer dining trends we uncovered in this year’s report.
Top 10 restaurant ordering, delivery, and pickup trends in 2023
One of the most prevalent themes among consumer food ordering preferences is convenience. For example, younger consumers with busy lifestyles love the time savings of local restaurant delivery, and parents appreciate the simplicity of curbside pickup on the way home from activities.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the 2023 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends Report.
1. Food delivery and takeout are more popular than dining at restaurants.
When asked how consumers dined recently, 77% say they’ve ordered food for delivery, 76% have ordered takeout, and 61% have dined at a restaurant.
In 2023, over 80% of US consumers report ordering restaurant takeout and delivery the same amount or more often now than they did last year. Additionally, though 79% of respondents shared they cooked when hosting a social meal at home in the past month, 40% reported they’ve ordered delivery for their guests, and another 24% pick up takeout food.
2. People love curbside pickup — especially families with kids under 12.
Ordering food for pickup is popular, especially among parents. The most common way to grab food when consumers order meals to go is via curbside pickup (41%), with drive-through coming in second (36%), and on foot being the least popular (23%).
When we looked at this question by number of children in the household, curbside pickup was overwhelmingly more popular than other food pickup options. Getting kids in and out of the car can take a good chunk of time, so curbside and drive-through options can save busy parents the hassle.
3. Food delivery is often a last-minute save.
Nearly 3 in 4 consumers (73%) reported recently turning to delivery for an urgent situation where they needed food last-minute. Gen Z and Millennials (26%) are more likely to have had a last-minute food delivery need daily/a few times a week over the past month than Gen X (14%) or Baby Boomers (5%), largely due to busy lifestyles and a higher tendency to turn to delivery services.
4. Ordering food from restaurants has become a weekly habit for most Americans.
Nearly half of consumers report ordering repeat restaurant delivery orders at least once a week.
44% of consumers reported ordering food from a third-party app or website 2-4 times a month. Another 23% of consumers order 5-7 times a month, and 15% order once a month. Consumers who like the convenience and familiarity of online ordering apps enjoy browsing for new menu items, restaurants, and specials.
5. Diners prefer to order from local restaurants.
A third of respondents (33%) actively seek out local restaurants with only one location in their area when ordering food for takeout or delivery. And all age groups ranked menu selection as the #1 reason why they choose to try a new restaurant.
6. Third-party apps are consumers’ preferred way to browse for food and order delivery.
When trying to decide on a restaurant to order delivery or takeout, 34% of customers turn to a third-party platform like DoorDash — a 10% increase from last year.
And when ordering delivery, more than half of consumers preferred to use a third-party app or website like DoorDash — a 43% increase from last year.
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 in their neighborhood.
7. Social media and food photography help attract younger consumers.
We’re not surprised that the generations of digital natives enjoy high-quality food photos and vibrant social media presences from the restaurants they order from. This year, we found that one in four Gen Zers use a restaurant’s social media pages when choosing a new place for delivery or takeout. And, 24% of Gen Z and 17% of Millennials cited social media influencers as a reason why they try a new restaurant.
A third of respondents across age categories ranked food photography as an important factor when choosing new places to eat, with Gen Z including food photos in their top five reasons to try a new restaurant.
8. Off-peak orders are the fastest-growing meals for ordering food.
Orders unsurprisingly spike on DoorDash around lunch and dinner, but we’ve also seen growth in late night orders (12–5am), with a 36% increase in orders in 2022 compared to the prior year. Breakfast orders (5–11am) also saw a jump in popularity, growing by 30%.
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.
Lien Ta originally opened All Day Baby in Los Angeles as a daytime-only restaurant — but she recently launched a pop-up dinner concept four nights a week. By expanding her operating hours, Lien was able to increase revenue, reach new customers, and offer more consistent shifts to help retain staff.
9. There are major generational differences in consumer dining habits.
Consumer preferences varied quite a bit by generation. Gen Zers (29%) and Millennials (31%) are more likely than Gen Xers (23%) and Baby Boomers (7%) to be cooking less due to being busy. And Baby Boomers (14%) were the most likely to order pickup because they enjoy the comfort of eating at home versus Gen Zers (8%), Millennials (6%) and Gen Xers (7%).
To help gain a deeper understanding of your audience and their preferences, restaurant operators can consider sending a survey with key questions about demographics and dining preferences. Promote the survey link via your email list and social channels, and offer a small discount or other reward to incentivize responses.
10. Everybody loves fries — but consumers are also looking for balance.
In 2022, fries were the top spot in the list of foods people order on DoorDash the most, followed by burgers, tacos, salad, and pizza.
Get a deep dive on dining trends in the full DoorDash report
The biggest takeaway from this year’s report? US consumers value convenience and enjoy having fast access to delicious food — so offering pickup and delivery on DoorDash is a great way to engage a new community with a user-friendly online ordering experience.
Craving more in-depth insights about the evolving restaurant landscape and consumers' online ordering trends? Download the 2023 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends report to get ahead of customer needs and strengthen your digital dining experience.
Survey conducted by Dynata on behalf of DoorDash. DoorDash surveyed 1,505 customers across the US in April 2023. DoorDash also explored proprietary data from DoorDash platform usage in FY22 and FY21.