The pandemic has put a spotlight on off-premises business as major chains and independent operators strive to whip up recipes for success under challenging circumstances. Capacity restrictions, shutdowns and consumer safety concerns may have stalled in-store traffic, but the off-premises revenue engine continues to steer foodservice in the direction of delivery and takeout.
While in-store traffic is sure to trickle back post-pandemic, the crash course consumers have had in the ease and convenience of delivery and takeout has trained them to rely on off-premises channels for their foodservice needs.
Which demographic groups are driving off-premises growth? According to the market research firm Technomic, 30% of consumers surveyed across demographic groups are moderate users who order carryout or delivery 3–4 times per month.1 Thirty-one percent of baby boomer women surveyed are light users (1–2 times per month), while 23% of millennials with a household income of $75,000 to $149,999 are heavy users (5–9 times per month).1 And though they may be comparatively small in number (16%), millennial men who live in cities and have a household income exceeding $155,000 are super heavy users (10+ times per month).1
What’s more, younger consumers are leading the charge for off-premises order frequency by dayparts. Seventy-three percent of millennials surveyed order delivery or takeout for dinner; 73% do so for lunch, and 49% do so for breakfast/brunch.2 Millennials also lead the pack when it comes to off-premises snack orders by daypart: 50% mid-afternoon, 48% late-night and 41% mid-morning.2
Millennials also drive demand for delivery of family-size bundles. Nearly half of millennials believe restaurants should offer more of these deals, followed by Gen Z and Gen X (both 37%).3
Overall, 38% of consumers surveyed hunger for family-size bundles (down from 43% in 2018), with millennials most receptive to such offers because they're most likely to be at the life stage where small children are in the home.3
“Together, delivery and takeout account for a majority of restaurant occasions, and this is driven by millennials and Gen Z,” Technomic reports.4
Technomic research determined that understanding and addressing the pandemic-propelled shifts in generational needs can help feed the bottom line. “As a result of COVID-19, brands are turning their focus to price and familiar comfort foods to draw in consumers,” Technomic reports.4 “Brands can tailor pricing and menu strategies by generation and/or create strategies with cross-generational appeal, such as keeping menu offerings with broad appeal as they streamline menus.”5
While family meal bundles and meal kits with children’s menu items may resonate with millennials who have young families, consider options that feature foods for teens and adult children to draw in Gen Xers with older kids. Delivery is the common denominator for appealing to young consumers. “Deals related to delivery will help draw in younger generations, who are more likely to order delivery,” Technomic states, while value pricing, coupons and specials may appeal more to boomers, who tend to prioritize these offers more than other generations.5
When developing delivery-friendly menu items, bear in mind that speed remains key. Technomic found that, on average, consumers are willing to wait 23 minutes for carryout and 34 minutes for food to be delivered.6
Looking for expert insights and culinary concepts to drive off-premises sales across generations? Mondelēz International Foodservice offers trusted brands and world-class chefs to help major chains and independent operators maximize their off-premises channels. Reach out below with questions, or just share your thoughts on how COVID-19 has shifted your business.
1 2020 Generational Consumer Trend Report (Technomic, p. 118)
2 2020 Generational Consumer Trend Report (Technomic, p. 70)
3 2020 Generational Consumer Trend Report (Technomic, p. 76)
4 2020 Generational Consumer Trend Report (Technomic, p. 18)
5 2020 Future of LSR: Fast Food & Fast Casual Consumer Trend Report (Technomic, p. 16)
6 2020 Generational Consumer Trend Report (Technomic, p. 72)