New Study Shows 79% Of Diners Plan To Continue Their Pandemic Ordering Habits

The restaurant industry has been struggling mightily during the pandemic, but all is not as bleak as it would seem. We're not just talking about the fact that outdoor-dining season is returning, or that the American COVID-19 vaccine program has been showing that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. We're also referring to the subtle ways in which Americans have been going out of their way to support the restaurant industry. For one thing, we've got celebrities like Mario Lopez, Mariah Carey, and the rapper Tyga, opening "virtual restaurants" designed to boost lagging restaurant revenues. But even bigger is the widespread effort among regular folks to keep restaurants chugging along by taking advantage of the convenience of delivery and takeout, which, while not a panacea, has helped, according to the New York Times. Now it appears that many people plan to continue ordering takeout and delivery from their favorite restaurants going forward.

"In the spirit of restaurant advocacy," restaurant marketing platform BentoBox, in partnership with restaurant discovery company, The Infatuation, surveyed over 1,000 diners about how they envision their pandemic-inspired takeout habits changing in the coming months, according to a statement received by Mashed. Turns out, 79 percent plan to continue ordering delivery and takeout at "pandemic"-levels. What's even more interesting, however, is why.

There's something to be said for those takeout and delivery options

On April 13, 2021, Bentobox, in partnership with The Infatuation, released the first of four quarterly installments of its Restaurant Delivery Consumer Trend Report, a year-long study tracking the evolution of delivery and takeout habits as the U.S. rebounds from pandemic conditions. For the first installment, 1000+ American adults were surveyed about how they expect their pandemic-fueled takeout and delivery habits to change in the coming months. According to a statement sent to Mashed by Bentobox, they found that "despite reopening, the overwhelming majority of diners (79 percent) will not change their takeout and delivery habits." 

The reasons are twofold. Starting with the less-cited reason, 50 percent of those surveyed expressed "a desire to support local restaurants" as their motivation, although that number jumped to 61 percent among people who order takeout or delivery at least five times per week. As for the most-cited reason? Convenience. Who'da thunk?  Apparently, the pandemic turned people on to a great way to get good food without having to get up off the couch, and they're sticking with it. 

The one change that might be coming, however, is that more people may be ordering direct from restaurants, as opposed to through delivery apps, and from what we can tell, that may be a win for everyone involved.