Sitting in their homes over the last two years, troubleshooting Zoom calls, rewatching old movies, and binge watching new shows, Americans fell in love with the ease of takeout. The world threatened to shrink; so, rather than commit to an eternity of only pizza and Chinese, customers sought to translate the experience of their favorite restaurants into their houses. And their favorite restaurants delivered

Operators joined forces with third-party delivery companies and devised packaging to attach a little normalcy to unprecedented times. Diners were satiated and comforted. And now that the world has cracked itself back open, those odes to normalcy are becoming essential to its reconfiguration. In fact, the revolution of the takeout industry could be the foundation for what the future may hold with increased options and responsible choices on the horizon. With 60% of United States consumers ordering delivery or takeout at least once a week, operators must once again meet them where they are: in their homes. 

You’ve Got Meal

Though Meg Ryan is not the face of this story – and, frankly, it lacks the narrative flair of Nora Ephron’s 1998 classic – the rise in takeout and delivery has depended heavily on the invention of the internet and can credit its success to people with taste. According to research conducted by Zippia:

Online food ordering has grown 300% faster than dine-in since 2014 and now accounts for roughly 40% of the total restaurant sales.

It also is a key indicator for customer loyalty as those who order online are shown to visit a restaurant 67% more frequently than those who don’t

In other words, the takeout/delivery market is increasingly essential for the modern restaurant. Gazing internally provides the necessary insights to pivot toward perfection with strategies like menu engineering, but these takeout trends are all about gazing outward. Here’s what the people want! 

Stranger Wings 

No one needs a reminder of the chicken wing fiasco, so it should come as no surprise that chicken led the pack for delivery orders, followed closely by Chinese cuisine. Projections for future food trends take a note from the instant-hit by the Duffer brothers–combining the comfort we know with stamps of individualism. Operators may not be able to steal a page from Stephen King’s book, but they can look to the staple recipes of southern cooking and global classics.

Consumers rated variety alongside speed as the deciding factors for delivery and takeout. Considering burgers and pizza have long covered the market, unique qualities work to draw customers as well as differentiate competitors. Though new recipes are a risk, it may be time to make like your favorite DND enthusiasts and roll the dice. 

The Off(Ice is Melting) 

Not even the stellar commitment and comedic timing of Steve Carell could get a laugh out of this tragedy. Though many see the worlds of industry and nature as counter to one another, the climate crisis is rampant and, unchecked, threatens to push 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030. This runs parallel to deforestation, destruction of ocean life, and increased natural disasters, among other things. 

Diners must have queued a couple David Attenborough documentaries during that time at home because they envisioned a landfill of styrofoam containers and single-use plastics and they said no more. 

43% of customers are reportedly willing to pay more for restaurants that prioritize sustainability efforts.

-Restaurant Dive

Whether that’s through more environmentally-friendly packaging or practices that minimize food waste, modern eaters seem to like their restaurants the way they like their avocados: green. 

Game of Patróns

While watching the drama between houses unfold, diners took notes from Tyrion Lannister. Did they pay their debts? Yes, of course. But more importantly, they drank and knew things. Alcohol in the world of takeout and delivery is still relatively new and going through legal developments. As a result of the pandemic, 39 states allowed cocktails-to-go legal in response to the pandemic and 17 jurisdictions made cocktails-to-go a permanent offering. Despite pandemic restrictions lifting, this trend is predicted to continue. 

According to the International Wine and Spirits Record, the alcohol eCommerce market is expected to increase by 42% by the end of this year. Not only does this addition meet a customer need, it also nicely adds to operator bottom lines. This is an undeniable opportunity for operators to position themselves at the front of a cutting edge. With many sales deriving from gifting, experts like Square recommend tactics like: 

  • Packaging ingredients together for a gift box
  • Creating cocktail kits
  • Doing themed variety packs (similar to a wine or beer subscription)
  • Adding in extra samplers (if allowed in your state)

Why alcohol delivery will still be a big opportunity post-pandemic

Insights To-Go

As is the theme of many of our articles, the world continues to change and requires business operators of every kind to keep up. This can seem an insurmountable task, but it is one rooted in understanding customers and working to act on that information. 

Craftable automates much of that process so your end goals are more achievable, saving you time and money. That’s more time you can use to connect with your customers and catch up on your watch list so you don’t miss these sick references. Schedule a demo and get to saving today.