off-premise dining

Off-premise dining continues to drive restaurant revenues

Even as dine-in traffic continues to pick up, demand remains high for off-premise dining. From delivery to drive-thru, studies show that 43 per cent of full-service restaurants accounted for more off-premise business in 2023 than five years ago, and 26 per cent of operators plan to add more options to their off-premise offerings this year.

With restaurants reporting that online ordering makes up about 23 per cent of their revenues,  and 52 per cent of consumers saying that takeout is “an essential part of their lifestyle,” it looks like off-premise dining is here to stay. Not only are consumers ordering meals to enjoy at home, but over half said that they would add to their at-home meal by ordering an entrée or a dessert from a restaurant.

How are consumers placing their orders? 48 per cent of consumers prefer to order by phone or in person, while just over 30 per cent prefer to order through a restaurant’s website. 22 per cent prefer to order from a third-party app for delivery, and seven per cent choose a third-party app to place their takeout orders.

Even though the delivery charge fees were capped at 20 per cent in Ontario last year, consumers may be choosing a more direct ordering approach to save money and increase value. What are consumers drawn to delivery and takeout? Many consumers have cited comfortable clothing or the ability to watch television as the reasons they choose takeout over dining in a restaurant.

Technology is emerging to improve the customer experience while making takeout and delivery a simpler option for operators. In 2023, many brands began using AI voice ordering, drive-thru pick-up, mobile and app-based ordering, as well as adding or improving loyalty apps. Motivated by labour challenges, small margins, and consumer demand, experts predict that technology like kiosks, CRM tools, and order interconnectivity will become the focus for many operators in 2024.

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As restaurateurs continue on the journey to recovery, focusing on using technology to improve the off-premise dining experience may have them seeing more repeat visits and higher revenues.