—Full service restaurant digital orders jump by 237%  

Chicago, May 11, 2021 — Digital ordering was a lifeline for consumers and U.S. restaurants, particularly full service restaurants, during the pandemic, reports The NPD Group. In the year ending March 2021, which covers a full year since the start of the pandemic, restaurant digital orders grew +124% compared to prior year. Digital orders for carry-out, which represented 62% of all digital orders, increased by +130%, and digital orders for delivery grew by +142% in the period compared to year ago and held 38% share of total restaurant digital orders, according to NPD’s ongoing foodservice market research, CREST®.    

Digital ordering offered full service restaurants, which operated under varying degrees of mandated dine-in restrictions throughout the pandemic, much needed support. Prior to the pandemic full service restaurants represented 10% share of digital orders, as of the year ending March 31, the segment held 16% share and saw a +237% increase in digital orders during the period versus year ago. Quick service digital orders, which represented the remaining 84% share, also realized triple-digit growth of +111%, reports NPD.

Restaurant apps and websites are the most used channels for digital ordering, representing 62% of all digital orders. However, digital orders through third-party apps, like DoorDash or UberEats, grew by +207% in the period over year ago compared to the +98% increase in digital orders through restaurant apps and websites.

“It’s unlikely that digital ordering will grow at the same pace it has during the pandemic once restaurants fully open, but it’s table stakes for restaurants now,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America.  “Digital ordering is all about elevated convenience and ease and that’s what makes consumers tick.” 

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