If it seems like more people are ordering delivery and eating takeout meals at home, you’re right. Consumers have found the convenience of ordering a meal for delivery compelling, to the tune of 1.7 billion foodservice purchases annually.[1] In addition, restaurants across the nation are seeing carryout edging past dining-in in terms of sales volume.[2]

Although delivery remains a small portion of the overall restaurant business, young adult diners are driving rapid growth in delivery and represent 56% of delivery orders. Most orders are placed from home and delivery services are rated as very satisfactory by 93% of Generation Z consumers and 87% of millennials.[3]

The explosion in digital ordering has fueled this trend. Consumers can use text messages, mobile apps, touchscreens, websites and smart phones to place orders quickly and easily. Automated restaurant technology integrates digital ordering, scheduling, payment and delivery.

Some restaurants are using third-party delivery providers such as UberEats, while others are building in-house delivery services. Delivery droids are being tested by several companies to streamline and simplify the process.[4]

The increase in delivery and takeout business is prompting chefs and restaurant owners to rethink their menus, kitchens and floorplans. Space is being cleared on shelves for staging online orders awaiting pickup, and vestibules are being enlarged to better accommodate carryout customers. Some dining rooms are being pared down and “orders-to-go” windows are being added.[5]

Some restaurants with a large volume of off-premises business are sectioning off parts of their kitchens to focus solely on takeout and delivery orders. Employees are being given specialized training on food preparation, ordering systems and customer service to ensure these orders are handled seamlessly.

It looks like dining on your sofa is the future: Morgan Stanley predicts the food delivery industry has the potential to grow seven-fold from its current level of $30 billion to $210 billion over the long term.[6]

[1] “Delivery is Bright Spot for U.S. Foodservice Industry,” press release issued by the NPD Group, Inc., April 25, 2017. Available at: https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2017/delivery-is-bright-spot-for-u-s–foodservice-industry/

[2] “With carryout and delivery on the rise, restaurants are getting redesigned,” by Samantha Bomkamp, Chicago Tribune, Aug. 31, 2017. Available at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-restaurant-digital-renovation-0903-biz-20170831-story.html

[3] “Delivery is Bright Spot for U.S. Foodservice Industry,” press release issued by the NPD Group, Inc., April 25, 2017. Available at: https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2017/delivery-is-bright-spot-for-u-s–foodservice-industry/

[4] “Five Trends That Will Rule the Future of the Food Delivery Industry,” Ordering.com blog, May 30, 2017. Available at: https://www.ordering.co/five-trends-will-rule-future-food-delivery-industry/

[5] “With carryout and delivery on the rise, restaurants are getting redesigned,” by Samantha Bomkamp, Chicago Tribune, Aug. 31, 2017. Available at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-restaurant-digital-renovation-0903-biz-20170831-story.html

[6] Food Delivery Industry Trends,” GetFriday blog, July 25, 2017. Available at: https://www.getfriday.com/blog/food-delivery-industry-trends-2

This news is provided as a service to you by Marlin Business Services Corp., a nationwide leader in commercial lending solutions for the U.S. small business sector. Marlin’s equipment financing and loan programs are available directly and through third-party vendor programs, including manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers, to deliver financing and working capital that help build your success.