Digital Food Orders Logged Double-Digit Growth in 2016
Analyst says many consumers consider mobile apps to be a must-have for restaurants.
Digital food orders grew by 18% last year and now account for 1.9 billion foodservice visits, according to research by the NPD Group, a leading global information company.
Presently, websites still account for the majority of digital food orders, but mobile app orders are showing stronger growth. In fact, many customers consider a mobile app to be a restaurant must-have, according to Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant industry analyst at NPD Group. “Digital ordering is now really all about the mobile app,” Riggs said in a press release. “Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable using mobile aps. If restaurants or foodservice operators don’t have a mobile app, consumers may very well choose a restaurant that does.”
Dinner is the meal most often ordered digitally, with 50 percent coming at dinnertime, while families are the heaviest users of the technology, the NPD Group research shows. People under age 35 and those with higher incomes are more likely to place food orders online. Twenty-nine percent of all digital orders used a coupon, and those who order digitally are twice as likely to place an order on a deal, usually a coupon.
The trend is particularly interesting considering that overall sales remain flat in the restaurant industry. As Riggs told Restaurant Hospitality, “Digital ordering is growing by double digits in a market that’s not growing at all.”