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Restaurant delivery experiences 23-percent surge in demand: report

Third-party delivery aggregator reports increased demand by major city

FoodBoss, an aggregator website of third-party restaurant delivery options, reported a surge in demand for delivery nationwide. Stay-at-home and social distancing practices in response to the coronavirus pandemic has beefed up this demand in the amount of 23 percent. In the backdrop, restaurants, particularly casual- dining, family-dining and fine-dining restaurants, are fighting for survival as most of them now have closed dining rooms and only offer delivery and takeout.

The foodservice industry is bracing for sales declines of as much as 27 percent, according to projections from food consultancy Technomic. Theoretically, this could represent quarterly sales drops of 40 to 50 percent in 2Q and 3Q within the industry, which is what many restaurants were already experiencing in major cities even before closing their dining rooms, according to news reports. However, the shift to off-premises dining will surely provide a channel that restaurateurs and foodservice providers need to leverage.

According to foodservice consultancy NPD, restaurant traffic had declined about 8 percent the week ending March 17, compared to an increase of 4 percent during the previous week, resulting from the QSR breakfast wars.In the table-service space, casual-dining restaurant traffic declined by 22 percent the week ending March 17 and midscale/family-dining had declined 24 percent.

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A spike in demand for restaurant delivery continues to provide hope for restaurateurs challenged to only operate in off-premises mode. They are not only looking to continue managing their business expenses, but also providing employment to their restaurant workers. FoodBoss provided this breakdown in delivery demand by city:

  • 19.6 percent in Chicago (up from 12.2 percent in February)
  • 12.7 percent in Philadelphia
  • 9.0 percent in New York City
  • 61.5 percent in Los Angeles
  • 128.7 percent in Boston

In March, foodservice delivery fees also increased by 16.3 percent. However, in the recent past, these fees have dropped back to pre-mandated closure levels.

Photo credit: Patrick Connor Klopf

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