High-quality ingredients. Efficient kitchen operations. Making guests feel special. Some restaurant trends will never go out of style. But with so much industry change over the last decade — including COVID-19’s massive impact — operators must monitor the latest restaurant industry statistics in order to thrive in today’s landscape.
From the growth of off-premise dining, to the proliferation of social media, to the increasing importance of sustainability, we pulled together dozens of restaurant industry statistics on U.S. restaurants and consumers from third-party sources and DoorDash research. Taking a data-driven approach to your restaurant operations will help you stay up-to-date on the latest restaurant trends and set your business up success.
COVID-19 Restaurant Industry Statistics
Over the last year, restaurants have been hit harder than any other industry and are still reeling from the impact of COVID-19. Ever resilient, these business owners have embraced innovation and adopted new strategies to get back on their feet and continue to safely serve guests.
- The National Restaurant Association (NRA) reported that restaurant and foodservice industry sales fell by $240 billion in 2020.
- More than 110,000 restaurants closed as of December 2020 — some temporarily, some for good.
- The restaurant industry finished 2020 at nearly 2.5 million jobs below its pre-coronavirus level.
- 62% of fine dining operators and 54% of both family dining and casual dining operators say staffing levels are more than 20% below normal.
COVID-19 Restaurant Industry Statistics – DoorDash
DoorDash was founded with a mission to grow and empower local economies — and never have local economies and (the communities that sustain them) been more challenged than during COVID-19. Our platform only works if it works for all stakeholders, and our company will only be successful if success is shared. That’s why we took action to help our restaurant partners through programs like our Main Street Strong initiative and the Main Street Strong Accelerator.
- Since March 2020, DoorDash relief programs have saved restaurants more than $120 million.
- The odds of staying open during COVID-19 are six times more likely for restaurants on DoorDash.
- 65% of restaurants say they were able to increase their profits during COVID-19 because of DoorDash.
- DoorDash’s local restaurant promotions generated one million incremental deliveries from the start of COVID-19 shutdowns through the end of May 2020.
- 57% of restaurants say their business would have closed during COVID-19 if not for DoorDash.
- Last fall, 42 restaurant industry experts presented 15 informative and inspiring sessions at the first annual Main Street Strong Restaurant Conference presented by DoorDash.
Food Delivery Statistics
Over the last few months, offering delivery and pickup has proven essential to many businesses. Restaurants around the world are expanding off-premise operations to cater to consumer preferences while creating a “pandemic-proof” business model. That means optimizing menus and operations for a variety of options — including dine-in, delivery, pickup, and online ordering.
- In 2020, 1.2 billion people worldwide used online food delivery.
- The global online food delivery industry generated over $136 billion in revenue in 2020.
- 73% of restaurants believe that third-party delivery is good for the restaurant industry.
- 68% of consumers are more likely to purchase takeout from a restaurant than before the pandemic.
- 53% of consumers say that takeout and delivery is essential to the way they live.
- 7 in 10 full-service operators added alcohol to their to-go menu since March 2020.
- 35% of off-premise customers — and 53% of Millennials — are more likely to choose a restaurant if it offers to-go alcoholic beverages.
- 75% of restaurants agree that DoorDash has allowed them to reach new customers.
- 69% of restaurants say they have acquired new dine-in customers through DoorDash.
- 65% of DoorDash customers have tried a restaurant they wouldn’t have otherwise tried because it was listed on DoorDash.
- The average DoorDash delivery time is 35 minutes.
Restaurant Website Statistics
A strong restaurant website design is a must in the modern age. At DoorDash, we’re here to make the process as smooth as possible for you and your guests. Storefront helps restaurants create a branded online store to enable pickup and delivery ordering directly from your own website, commission-free.
- 77% of diners visit a restaurant's website before they dine in or order out from the establishment.
- 69% of diners say a restaurant’s website specifically helps them decide if they want to dine in at the establishment, while 43% visit a website to help decide if they want to order takeout or delivery from a restaurant.
- 56% of diners say mobile-friendly websites are very important.
- 20% of restaurants still don’t have a website.
- 68% of diners have been discouraged from visiting a restaurant because of a restaurant's website.
- 62% of diners have been discouraged from ordering delivery or takeout because of a restaurant’s website.
- 33% of diners have been discouraged from visiting a restaurant because its website was difficult to navigate.
- 30% of diners have been turned off by menus that are difficult to read.
- 30% of diners have been turned off by websites that look old and outdated.
- 36% of diners have been discouraged from ordering food from a restaurant because its website wasn’t mobile-friendly.
Restaurant Social Media Statistics
More than just a platform for sharing mouthwatering food photos, social media is a powerful tool that restaurateurs can harness for tangible business growth. Operators who want to attract new customers and keep regulars should make the most of this vital channel. Learn beginner, intermediate, and advanced social media strategies for restaurants in The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Social Media Marketing.
- #food is one of the most widely used hashtags on Instagram, with more than 250 million posts per month.
- 45% of diners say they’ve tried a restaurant for the first time because of a restaurant’s social media post.
- 22% of diners said a restaurant’s social post enticed them to return.
- 42% of diners say they have interacted with restaurants on at least one social media platform. Of that group, 66% said they are more likely to visit or order food from the restaurant.
- 30% of millennial diners actively avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence.
Millennial and Gen Z Restaurant Statistics
As they move through their prime spending years, millennial and Gen Z consumers are driving new cultural norms that have major implications for the restaurant industry. Restaurant operators must learn to cater to millennial food trends, such as convenience, sustainability, and technology.
- More than six in 10 millennial diners said they wanted to see restaurants use technology to make ordering and payment easier.
- Millennials are three times more likely to order food delivery than their parents.
- 20% of millennials and 18% of Gen Z say they’re ordering delivery more often during the pandemic.
- 67% of millennials say the availability of delivery makes them more likely to choose one restaurant over another.
- 58% of millennials say they are more likely to incorporate restaurant-prepared items — such as a main dish, side, or dessert — into their home-prepared meals today than just two years ago.
- 42% of millennials said they’d be willing to pay to participate in a loyalty program that guarantees reservations on busy days, discounts certain items or offers skip-the-line privileges.
- 59% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 55% of 25- to 34-year-olds specifically look for photos of food on a restaurant's website.
- 50% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 44% of 25- to 34-year-olds who say a restaurant’s website has discouraged them from visiting the restaurant reported it’s because the food photography was not enticing.
- 49% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 41% of 25- to 34-year-olds who order takeout or delivery say a restaurant’s website has discouraged them from ordering food.
Restaurant Sustainability Statistics
- Three out of four restaurant operators said customers are more interested in environmentally sustainable menu items than they were two years ago.
- 76% of adults say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally sourced food.
- 78% of customers are willing to pay more for their meals in a green restaurant.
- 58% of millennials were more likely to choose one restaurant over another based on its ability to provide sustainably grown, raised and manufactured foods.
- 30% of millennials eat foods that are certified as organic.
- 20% of millennials have changed their diet to reduce their impact on the planet.
- 65% of millennials say they are more likely to go to restaurants that offer locally sourced alcoholic beverages.
- 92% of respondents in a survey of packaging and plastics professionals say sustainability in packaging has never been more important.
Restaurant Technology Statistics
Technology can help many aspects of a restaurant business — from marketing to reservations to back-of-house operations to delivery solutions. Rather than build their own technologies, many restaurants partner with third-party platforms like DoorDash to implement and scale new solutions.
- More than eight in 10 restaurant operators agree that the use of technology in a restaurant provides a competitive advantage.
- 60% of adults agreed that restaurant technology — including smartphone apps, tableside tablets, order kiosks — increases convenience.
- Restaurant technologies that rate highest among consumers include tablets for tableside payments, self-service electronic kiosks for ordering, and wearable technology that notifies servers of guests’ needs.
- 56% of adults say technology increases order accuracy.
- 30% of all adults and 40% of 18- to 34-year-olds agree that access to technology encourages them to dine out or order out more frequently.
- 60% of digital restaurant orders are placed on mobile apps.
Restaurant Menu Statistics
A delivery menu is a restaurant’s primary tool to interact with guests and drive off-premise orders. Restaurant operators can learn a number of techniques to optimize their menu designs for delivery, profitability, and mouthwatering descriptions that drive sales.
- 38% of on-premise and 33% of off-premise customers say their restaurant choices are influenced by whether the menus include comfort foods.
- 38% of on-premise customers say the availability of healthy menu options impacts their restaurant choice.
- 63% of fine dining operators and half of casual and family dining operators say they have fewer items on the menu than before COVID-19.
- 79% of adults say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers healthy menu options.
Restaurant Holiday Statistics
National food holidays are a great way for operators to build a restaurant marketing strategy that engages guests and drives revenue. Download your copy of the 2021 Restaurant Marketing Calendar and Toolkit today to get social copy templates, photo ideas, marketing promotions, and other tips to map out your restaurant marketing plan.
- The ten busiest holidays for food delivery in 2020 (based on the average number of DoorDash deliveries per restaurant location) were:
- Mother's Day
- New Year's Eve
- Thanksgiving Eve
- Veteran's Day
- Labor Day
- Father's Day
- Memorial Day
- Indigenous Peoples' Day
- Day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday)
- 56% of consumers purchase gift cards during the holidays — with restaurant gift cards as the most popular category.
DoorDash Restaurant Partner Statistics
Read our Merchant Success Stories to learn how restaurants of all types and sizes partner with DoorDash to reach new customers, improve margins, and increase their online presence.
- After joining DoorDash, Ohio Valley family restaurant Scaffidi’s Restaurant and Tavern increased their monthly deliveries by 1,850%.
- Illinois-based grilled chicken franchise Port of Peri Peri saw a 56% increase in DoorDash orders after adding Storefront, which enables diners to place orders directly on your website, commission-free.
- Dallas-based restaurant Texas de Brazil saw a 58% increase in DoorDash sales after adding Storefront, and their DoorDash average ticket sizes are 20% higher than a competing platform’s.
- Chicago brunch restaurant saw a 20% increase in DoorDash sales after joining DashPass, our popular marketing add-on that helps restaurants reach our most engaged diners.
- 30% of casual dining chain Smokey Bones’ DoorDash orders come from DashPass.
- Australian QSR Roll’d saw a 177% increase in native delivery sales after rolling out DoorDash Drive, our white-label delivery solution.
- Washington, D.C.-based pizzeria &pizza saw a 372% year-over-year growth in DoorDash sales from 2018 to 2019.
Subscribe for the latest restaurant industry statistics
While every restaurant business is unique, being aware of the latest restaurant industry statistics can help you make informed decisions about your restaurant. To stay up-to-date on the latest trends for restaurants, subscribe to the DoorDash blog.