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Off-premise orders reach about 60% of foodservice occasions

Restaurant association survey looks at trends in speed, convenience

Off-premise orders continue to nibble into overall restaurant sales with those transactions now making up nearly 60% of foodservice occasions, according to new survey results from the National Restaurant Association.

Foodservice drive-thru, takeout and delivery are growing “as consumer lifestyles are continuously driven by the convenience and speed of online and app-based ordering in other industries,” the Washington, D.C.-based trade group said in releasing its new “Harnessing Technology to Drive Off-Premises Sales” survey.

“We are seeing the industry change and adapt faster than ever before in response to the macro-environmental factors driving consumer behavior,” said Hudson Riehle, the NRA’s senior vice president for research and knowledge, in a statement.

The off-premise percentage also includes freshly prepared items taken off-premise at grocery and convenience stores, the group said.

“In today’s on-demand world, off-premises capabilities are more important than ever to keep restaurants aligned with the wants and needs of its customers,” Riehle said.

The survey found customers were most receptive to consumer-facing technologies such as drive-thru enhancements, order accuracy tracking and frictionless mobile ordering. Key areas of growth include:

  • 92% of consumers used drive-thru at least once a month.
  • 34% of consumers used delivery more often than a year ago.
  • 79% of consumers used restaurant delivery at least once a month, and 53% of consumers used a third-party delivery provider.

The study noted that all of those percentages were higher among 18- to 34-year-olds than with those consumers aged 35 and older.

Part of the survey polled restaurant operators and found:

  • 78% of restaurant operators considered off-premises programs a strategic priority.
  • 74% of companies were investing in off-premises programs but none of the Top 5 investments include customer-facing technology.
  • For takeout, 52% of operators said they had remodeled their facility to add off-premise services, including in-store kiosks, to-go counters or other similar features.
  • 66% of operators offered delivery through a third-party service and 55% offered delivery through internal staff.

Technology was becoming more commonplace in off-premise sales.

  • 22% of consumers used kiosk ordering last year, and 11% used voice-assisted ordering.
  • 69% of consumers would use vehicles, if available, with built-in heating trays to keep food warm and 41% would use autonomous delivery.
  • 44% of restaurant operators who offered voice ordering, and 50% who offered location intelligence to target new customers based on their position, said it had a positive impact on their business.

The survey, in collaboration with Technomic Inc., was conducted online in April with two groups: a nationally representative sample of foodservice consumers who order delivery, takeout or drive-thru at least once every two to three months, and a national sample of 400 restaurant operators (170 limited-service and 230 full-service) who offer delivery, takeout or drive-thru.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

TAGS: Sales Trends
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