2016 Restaurant Industry Statistics You Should Know

As we approach 2017, it’s interesting to think about how the restaurant industry has changed this year. As restaurant owners continue to inspire the taste buds of their patrons, it’s also important to stay on the cutting edge in this ever-evolving industry! To help you out, we’ve summed up recent statistics every restaurateur should know as we move forward into the new year.

How often do consumers use food delivery services?

A survey conducted in the U.S in November 2016 revealed that when consumers were asked how often they use food delivery services, 10 percent of respondents said they used these services once a week. In the same survey, 20 percent of the respondents also stated that they enjoyed dining using food delivery services “very much”.

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 6 percent of respondents said that they usually order food for delivery multiple times per week while 13 percent of those surveyed do so about once per week. The same survey conducted also revealed that 44 percent of overall respondents are likely to order food for delivery more often if restaurants could guarantee faster delivery speeds, with 27 percent even willing to pay a bit more for faster delivery speeds.

Back in April 2016, an online survey by Morgan Stanley and AlphaWise studied U.S consumers on their preferences with respect to restaurant brands and food delivery aggregators and services. Of over 5,000 consumers surveyed, the top 3 reasons for not ordering food online were: “Expensive” (37 percent), “Prefer to order take-out food” (23 percent) and “Delivery ordering service not available” (18 percent).

Potential shifts in consumer behaviour hint at the pent-up demand for food delivery services everywhere. 2016 is the banner year where we saw restaurants gearing up to fulfill online ordering demands, with food aggregators and online ordering services coming on board to provide wider assortments. The same report by Morgan Stanley and AlphaWise also noted that “online third-party aggregators have only penetrated less than 2% of total restaurant sales, but have the potential to become far larger players” in the future.

As restaurants continue to scale beyond their walls, we are only glimpsing at the growth potential for online food delivery services. The future is promising.

Can restaurant owners afford to ignore ‘millennial trends’ in 2017?

As consumers continue to shift to online food ordering, a significant market for non-dine-in business awaits. According to National Restaurant Association, restaurants who do nothing now will only cater to 30% of consumers in 2020.

2016 saw the marketing industry abuzz with ‘marketing to Millennials’. After all, they form a huge generation among the workforce today: $200 billion in direct purchasing power and over $500 billion in indirect. Some important facts about marketing to millennials:

  • 68 percent will search for information from their friends before choosing a restaurant
  • 40 percent would order something different from the menu every time they visit a restaurant
  • 80 percent want to know more about how the food is grown
  • Millennials view food as entertainment and self-expression

All things considered, marketing to millennials is important. While it’s a smart move to get in front of millennials early, restaurateurs should also make sure that they aren’t completely forgetting about other consumer groups. A single-minded approach could make your consumers doubt their brand loyalty, especially if they belong to other target groups.

Instead, work on getting to know who your existing customers really are, find out their needs and desires, and get connected on platforms where your customers are engaging on. Restaurant marketing today intersects with many other digital channels: social media, email marketing and online ordering just to name a few. With so many channels, consumers today are bombarded with marketing messages everywhere. Strive to tell your restaurant’s unique story. It’s more worthwhile to stay authentic and create meaningful relationships, rather than forcing your way to appeal to millennials only.

What’s the case like for food delivery services in 2016 and beyond?

The market for online food delivery remains as large as ever, with a huge section of this market still being overwhelmingly offline. For instance, 51 percent of all mobile searches on Google are for restaurants, yet as few as 5 percent have mobile-optimised websites. (Source: How Tech Is Killing Off Independent Pizzerias)

A recent Morgan Stanley Research also projects that the total U.S food delivery market could grow to as much as $210 billion over the long term, from around $11 billion today. This amounts to only “half the penetration of e-commerce and one-eighth of online travel”. Unequivocally, the food delivery space is still in its early stage.

The numbers add up to one clear conclusion – the restaurant industry continues to be reshaped by food delivery services deployed by aggregators and upcoming players. With shifts in consumer habits, restaurateurs which are not investing in digital and mobile solutions will only risk becoming irrelevant faster than they can blink.

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