Study: Restaurants Can Build Consumer Loyalty with Deliveries During Pandemic

With no clear end to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, restaurants have an opportunity to use delivery services to maximize interest in their offerings, fine tune their experience, and build long-term customer loyalty, according to a study published by Escalent, a human behavior and analytics firm in Livonia.
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DoorDash service
Restaurants have an opportunity to use delivery services to maximize interest in their offerings and build long-term customer loyalty, according to a study by Escalent in Livonia. // Photo courtesy of DoorDash

With no clear end to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, restaurants have an opportunity to use delivery services to maximize interest in their offerings, fine tune their experience, and build long-term customer loyalty, according to a study published by Escalent, a human behavior and analytics firm in Livonia.

The report titled “What’s for Dinner? How Restaurants and Food Delivery Services Can Build Loyalty Beyond COVID-19” explores the growth of restaurant delivery now and into the near future.

“Consumers are supporting the restaurant industry in this critical moment thanks to the widespread availability of delivery services,” says Jill Miller, vice president of the consumer and retail team at Escalent. “We’ve seen enormous interest in private local restaurant delivery, as well as the full slate of third-party delivery apps — of which DoorDash is the clear favorite. That interest could extend through the duration of the pandemic, too, making this period extremely important for brands looking to sustain growth.”

According to the study:

  • 17 percent of U.S. consumers have used restaurant delivery in the past month.
  • 21 percent of those ordering restaurant delivery in the past month are new users.
  • Consistent users indicated a 26 percent increase in use of these services each month.
  • 84 percent of restaurant delivery customers expect their usage will stay the same or increase through the next three months.
  • 53 percent of restaurant delivery customers expect their usage will stay the same or increase after the impacts of the pandemic have subsided, defined as “a post-COVID-19 world when you feel comfortable going out or dining out without the fear of infection.”

In addition to growth metrics, the study offers a clear view of user platform preferences, according to Escalent. The two most popular ordering platforms — local restaurant/private label delivery and DoorDash — were used by 43 percent and 42 percent of respondents who ordered delivery in the past month, respectively, with 50 percent of respondents indicating their intent to order from local restaurants.

Also of note, DoorDash holds a commanding lead over its closest third-party rivals — GrubHub (23 percent), Uber Eats (17 percent), and Postmates (8 percent).

Escalent says it interviewed a national sample of 1,000 random U.S. food delivery users who used a restaurant delivery service in the past month, aged 18 to 65, between July 24 and Aug. 2. The data were weighted by age, gender, and census region to match the demographics of the U.S. population. The data have a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points at a confidence level of 95 percent.

For more information, download the study here.

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