Home now the center of food commerce, according to survey

A delivery driver on a bike has an Uber Eats delivery bag on his back.

Written by James Shea

The pandemic has completely changed the way people order from restaurants and shop at grocery stores, according to the report “How We Eat,” a collaborative effort between PYMNTS, Carat from Fiserv.

The report surveyed 5,266 consumers and asked them about their restaurant and grocery buying habits. Of those surveyed, 33% held college degrees, 52% were female and 36% earned more than $100,000 a year.

“The past 19 months have permanently altered the landscape of the restaurant and grocery sectors,” according to the report. “Providing customers online meal and grocery ordering options, coupled with at-home delivery and pickup options, is no longer an option, but rather a requirement. Restaurants and grocers must be able to offer both digital ordering options and a range of pickup and delivery features if they hope to convert the connected consumers.”

The report drew four main conclusions:

  • The home, not the restaurant, is the center of the restaurant business. 31% of respondents are now more likely to buy meals for pickup or delivery than before the pandemic. As well 46% of restaurant customers order their food for delivery, and 75% order online for pickup.
  • Grocery store shopping is less about choosing particular products and more about pickup and delivery options. 72% of grocery shoppers now order for pickup or delivery. Once the order is placed, 67% have groceries delivered and 51% do curbside pickup
  • Consumers want delivery-based dining options for food they cook and order from a restaurant. 43% more consumers are ordering groceries and restaurants meals for delivery than before the pandemic. The survey found that 85% of those people who order groceries and meals online do not plan to shop or dine in person in the near future.
  • Voice-enabled commerce will be a key to success for online ordering and delivery. 6% of people who order online say they already use voice ordering, and 9.1% said they were likely to use the technology to order in the future.

“The rise of the bring-it-to-me economy is changing the formula for success in the restaurant business, which previously relied on location and ambiance,” the report said. “Restaurant customers have come to expect to be able to order food from their favorite establishments to be delivered to their door or picked up curbside or in-store. Online order options paired with at-home delivery and on-site pickup arguably are as critical to serving restaurant patrons as having a brick-and-mortar restaurant.”

Younger people and those who earn $100,000 or more a year are more likely to prefer online ordering and delivery. Generation Z consumers reported ordering online 90.2% of the time. Baby Boomers and seniors reported ordering online just 47.6% of the time. Both Generation Z, Millenials and Baby Boomers saw significant increases in the number of people now who order online. 57.1% of Generation Z reported having increased online ordering and 27% of baby boomers increased their online orders since the start of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has played an undeniably critical role in driving consumers’ new food and grocery ordering habits,” reported concluded, adding the trend offers a “massive market opportunity for restaurants and grocers to expand their customer bases.”

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