Food delivery platform DoorDash has released its fourth annual Restaurant Online Ordering Trends Report, offering a deep dive into the evolution of consumer dining expectations, generational eating and drinking routines, and more over the past year. These fresh insights can be used as a resource for merchants looking to optimize their operations and meet their customers where they are.

“To grow in the current environment, we have to continuously evolve to meet today’s consumer needs. We must listen to our customers, run each shift with a positive attitude, and do what we can to make our businesses a little bit better every day,” says Michael Solomonov, chef and co-owner of CookNSolo Restaurants and chief restaurant advisor at DoorDash. “We hope that the insights and business takeaways gathered in this report will help operators increase profitability, run their businesses more efficiently, and connect with more folks in the community.”

The report surveyed more than 1,500 US-based consumers of varying backgrounds and found:

  • Consumers rely on online ordering to enjoy the best of their neighborhoods, with DoorDash seeing a 21 percent year-over-year increase in orders placed on the platform in Q1 2024. In March 2024, 70 percent of respondents reported ordering food delivery in the past month, and 86 percent of diners surveyed say they order from third-party delivery apps like DoorDash at least twice per month.
  • Many DoorDash users are creatures of habit, ordering food most often on Friday and Saturday evenings after a long work week. While some consumers stick to their usuals and weekly schedules, nearly three-quarters turn to third-party delivery for last-minute needs; men (80 percent) are more likely than women (64 percent) to report a recent, urgent order and 2x more likely to order last-minute food delivery multiple times in a week.
  • Menu selection (55 percent) and menu pricing (50 percent) are the top motivators for consumers when choosing a new restaurant to order from. Sixty-seven percent of DoorDash users ordered from a new store in Q1 2024 and the survey revealed how many of these customers might have discovered these new restaurants.
  • Younger consumers are likely to find their next meal while scrolling their For You pages, with 30 percent of Gen Z respondents saying they use TikTok for inspiration to find new restaurants and 29 percent turning to Instagram. Although TikTok is gaining popularity as a restaurant discovery tool, Instagram remains the most popular social media platform overall for finding new restaurants.
  • Consumers like to cozy up with their orders, as 52 percent report eating their delivery food at home on the couch and, in the case of 21 percent of Gen Zers, in bed. Additionally, most consumers (63 percent) prefer to skip the dishes and eat from the original takeout container but some (more than half of Baby Boomers) still use their own dishes and utensils.