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How COVID-19 Has Shaped the Future of Delivery and Carryout Services

The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the world we knew, and many of those fundamental changes are not likely to change anytime soon. The CDC estimates that the coronavirus infected more than 120 million Americans and that 767,000 Americans have died from the disease.

COVID-19 brought an onslaught of sickness, grief, financial difficulties, lockdowns, and changes to everyday life. These changes resulted in significant shakeups in nearly every industry, but the restaurant and foodservice industry were one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. Over 110,000 drinking and eating establishments shuttered to a close in 2020 alone, devastating local communities, small businesses, and large businesses alike. The majority of the restaurants that fell beneath the financial weight of the pandemic were well-established, averaging 16 years in business.

Many of the foodservice and restaurant businesses that managed to stay afloat had to adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic. The most notable change was the availability of carryout and delivery services.

Delivery and Carryout Services: Then vs. Now

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 69 percent of consumers ordered delivery. However, those numbers increased sharply during the pandemic, peaking at an astounding 88 percent. In fact, this demand resulted in up to 46 percent of restaurant operators adding delivery services at the start of the pandemic. The increase for delivery and carryout services was brought on by several factors, including:

  • Public lockdowns

  • Restaurant dining restrictions

  • Safety concerns

Popular delivery service apps like Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats swiftly filled that demand and raked in a massive increase in revenue throughout the pandemic.

Today, the pandemic is finally starting to wind down, thanks to testing and vaccination availability. According to the CDC, more than 183 million people in the United States are fully vaccinated as of September 2021. That number is likely to continue to rise, but what will restaurant industries look like following the pandemic? What is the new normal likely to become?

Demand for Delivery and Carryout Services Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon

Early estimates show that around 68 percent of adults say they are more likely to use delivery and carryout services going forward than they had been before the pandemic. Additionally, 53 percent of adults consider delivery and takeout to be an essential part of the way they live.

With statistics like these, it’s safe to assume that life in the food industry will not be going back to the way it had been before COVID-19. That’s why businesses need to continue offering delivery and carryout services, either in-house or through a third-party provider that’s popular in your area.

The Bottom Line

The COVID-19 pandemic brought several changes to the restaurant and foodservice industries, including the widespread use of delivery and carryout services. However, the demand for these services is not likely to change, even as the pandemic begins to wind down. Therefore, offering these services may continue to be essential to your business, even as customers start to return for dine-in options.

Have you added delivery and carryout services to your business? We offer website design services that can make adding delivery and to-go options simple. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.

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