2021 Food Delivery Service Statistics You Need to Know

Trends 11 minute read 05 October 2020

The online food delivery market has changed considerably. Once the domain of fast-food, pizza and our favourite cuisines from across the world, it now includes coffee, desserts and breakfasts.

This is thanks largely to the speed with which third-party food delivery services such as Deliveroo and Just Eat have capitalised on the market. But that isn’t where the story ends.

If you’re a restaurateur, cafe owner or even bar manager, you might be wondering how you can add online ordering and delivery to your own business plan and make it a profitable endeavour. It’s a fine balance, but get the numbers right and you’ll see the orders start to flood in.

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We appreciate you might need a better reason to get involved, rather than simply “because everyone’s doing it”. So, here are the most important food delivery service statistics that will inspire and help you choose between third-party assistance or an entirely in-house operation.

A deep dive into the UK food delivery market

uk food delivery statistics

Takeaways remain one of the most popular forms of dining in the UK. Thanks to their convenience and the emergence of new technology, it now contributes considerably to the country’s economy.

Here are the UK delivery stats that matter:

  • 8.5 billion: the value of the foodservice delivery market in 2019
  • Just Eat: the most popular online food delivery provider during 2019
  • 11 million: the forecasted number of online food delivery users in 2020
  • £5.40: the average weekly spend on takeaway meals by Brits
  • 7.5 billion: the number of food deliveries made in the UK during 2019
  • 39%: the increase in UK food deliveries over the last three years
  • 1.6 million: the cumulative extra meals sold each week thanks to third-party delivery platforms
  • 10%: the percentage of turnover many restaurants are comfortable devoting to delivery

Source: Food delivery and takeaway market in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts (Statista) Source: UK restaurant takeaway sector 2020 growing faster than any other (Hospitality and Catering News) Source: What do the 2020s hold for restaurant delivery? (Big Hospitality)

Online food delivery in the US - the key statistics

online food delivery stats US

The US food delivery market has always produced huge numbers. Whether or not you agree that it has long been at the forefront of dine-at-home ordering, it’s hard to ignore the importance of the following statistics for the industry as a whole.

  • $26,527 million: the total value of online food deliveries expected in 2020
  • 20.2%: the year-on-year growth experienced in the US food delivery market
  • $30 billion: the amount of spend on US restaurant delivery each year
  • 10%: the number of Americans using a delivery service at least one a week
  • 70%: the share of Americans who order food for delivery
  • Grubhub: the largest online delivery service in the US, based on gross sales
  • 199,549: the number of quick service restaurant franchises in operation
  • $11 billion: the total consumer spend on pizza delivery

We’ve come quite a way since Pizza Hut launched its first ever store back in 1994, eh?

Interesting fact: the US still lags some distance behind the world’s biggest food delivery market, which is China, at $51,514 million

Source: Online Food Delivery (Statista) Source: Food delivery industry in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts (Statista)

What do customers want from food delivery?

what customers want from food delivery

In 2019, US Foods ran a fascinating study on customer expectation from food delivery services.

Surveying over 1,500 American adults, the food distributor focused its questions on people who used services such as Grubhub, UberEats and Postmates.

We’ve picked out the top ten stats that emerged from the study.

  1. The average person has two food delivery apps on their smartphone and uses them three times a month.
  2. UberEATS was the most popular app, followed by Grubhub and DoorDash.
  3. 40 minutes is the longest acceptable wait, on average, for delivery.
  4. 1.5 miles is the shortest distance people will still opt for delivery over takeout.
  5. $8.50 is the most people will pay for the delivery fee, service fee and tip combined.
  6. The food not being warm and/or fresh ranked as the biggest complaint by diners.
  7. 85% of customers would like tamper-evident labels to mitigate instances of drivers taking food from their order.
  8. 63% of people are more likely to tip through the app, rather than cash in person.
  9. 60% of deliverers ranked a low or no tip as their biggest gripe.
  10. 53% of people tip differently based on the weather.

To go in-house or third-party? It’s one of the hardest strategies to get right when entering the food delivery sector.

Should you undertake the delivery service yourself or bring in the help of a third-party company such as Just Eat or Deliveroo?

There are pros and cons for both. Doing it yourself avoids any commissions you’ll have to pay the delivery company and provides you with complete control. However, a third-party service will have everything in place to get you up and running quickly and provides drivers so you don’t have to use your own vehicles.

It’s a tough one, but here are a few stats that might help sway your decision either way.

in house or third party food delivery service

  • 78% of US food delivery orders are placed via the restaurant itself, compared to 22% through third-party services
  • Using third-party delivery services has been found to increase restaurant sales by 10 to 20% in some cases
  • 31% of consumers say they use a third-party delivery service at least twice a week
  • 80% of customers say they’ll blame the restaurant if something goes wrong, rather than the delivery company
  • third-party services typically take 30% or more (plus taxes) on orders
  • £1 - £5 is the average cost of delivery in the UK

Source: Third-party or in-house food delivery: pros and cons (deliverect) Source: Restaurant owners in Britain call on Deliveroo to drop commission fees (CNBC) Source: 9 IN 10 US FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE USERS SAY IT MAKES THEIR LIVES EASIER (Mintel) Source: Restaurant takeout and delivery are taking a bite out of dine-in traffic (Nation’s Restaurant News)

Wrapping up

The food delivery market changes so rapidly that we’re committed to updating these stats to keep them fresh and current.

One thing is for sure - if you operate in foodservice and haven’t turned to delivery yet, this year you need to take the plunge.

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