Web Exclusive: New Report Examines Growth of Off-Premise Dining, Third-Party Delivery in Canada


By Nicole Di Tomasso

Last month, DoorDash and Restaurants Canada released their new 2022 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends report, which explores the momentous growth of off-premise dining and third-party delivery in Canada. DoorDash surveyed 1,509 consumers across the country from March 31 to April 4, 2022 to reveal current consumer online-ordering preferences and emerging dining trends. Overall, the report found that same-store pickup and delivery orders in Canada increased 27 per cent year-over-year and is showing no signs of slowing down.

“Our mission is to support local communities, so it’s important for us to know how these trends are evolving and bring all of the learnings that we collect to our merchants, dashers and customers, and the industry at large,” says Shilpa Arora, general manager at DoorDash Canada. “This report is a great way for us to showcase growth and how our audiences have participated in that evolution.”

Dining Behaviours

In 2022, on-premise dining has started to return as more consumers are eager to return to their favourite restaurants in-person. In fact, survey data showed 31 per cent of consumers are dining indoors more often now than last year. However, delivery and takeout continues to be prevalent, with 86 per cent of consumers ordering takeout/pickup and 83 per cent ordering delivery as much, or more than, they did last year.

Additionally, when selecting somewhere to order delivery or takeout, 27 per cent turn to a logistics platform such as DoorDash (up seven per cent), 21 per cent go to a restaurant’s website or app (up four per cent), 17 per cent search for restaurants using an online search engine (up eight per cent) and 13 per cent go to a restaurant directly (down four per cent).

“While we are excited to welcome our guests back to our restaurant, it’s clear that people also value the convenience that online ordering provides when they want to enjoy a meal from the comfort of their home,” says Jonathon Poon, chef/owner of Toronto’s Paris Paris. “We’re still seeing a high uptick of pickup and delivery orders through DoorDash post restrictions lifting.”

Baked goods were the most widely ordered delivery and pickup staple in Canada, while American food was the second-most popular. Other popular cuisines/items include dessert, Japanese, chicken, poutine, Indian, alcohol, Mexican and Chinese.

Furthermore, 60 per cent of consumers ordered from restaurants they visit often and 15 per cent ordered from new restaurants they’ve never visited or ordered from before. The report also states that consumers are more open to trying new items, with 25 per cent saying they often try new items and 66 per cent saying they occasionally try new menu items.

Restaurant Delivery Trends

When choosing a delivery method, whether it’s ordering directly from a restaurant or a third-party, the top three priorities for consumers are low fees (75 per cent), the quality of the ordering experience (69 per cent) and quality customer support (68 per cent). Other considerations include low menu prices, accurate delivery-time estimates, item customization and tracking delivery or pickup status. Overall, “consumers want a streamlined experience that makes online ordering simple and affordable,” reads the report.

Specifically, third-party ordering is the most popular method for delivery, with 48 per cent of consumers preferring this method, trending up 39 per cent from last year. In terms of order frequency, consumers ordered delivery from a restaurant via a third-party app/website 4.4 times per month and via a restaurant’s app or website 3.52 times per month. The most popular ordering time is Friday at 6 p.m.

The top three reasons consumers choose delivery over takeout is for more convenience (53 per cent), they don’t feel like going out (44 per cent) and avoiding possible COVID-19 exposure (31 per cent).

Restaurant Pickup Trends

For pickup orders, 41 per cent of consumers prefer to order through a restaurant’s website or app, 33 per cent prefer to order by calling the restaurant and 22 per cent prefer to order through a third-party website or app, according to the report. On average, consumers placed pickup orders via third-party app/website 3.9 times per month and directly from a restaurant’s website or app 3.2 times per month.

Consumers will select pickup over delivery when they feel it will be faster, when they see that fees are lower or when they’re closer to the restaurant in question. The most popular time for pickup orders is Friday at 5 p.m.

Digital Dining

The report shows 51 per cent of consumers prefer to order delivery and 25 per cent prefer order pickup through a third-party website, app or aggregator. Consumers choose third-party over direct ordering for because it’s easy to use (34 per cent), it’s more convenient (34 per cent), they didn’t want to talk to anyone (21 per cent) and it’s familiar (18 per cent).

Conversely, 74 per cent of consumers prefer to order pickup and 48 per cent prefer to order delivery direct from a restaurant’s website or make a phone call. Consumers choose direct ordering over other methods because delivery fees are lower (24 per cent), it’s more convenient (23 per cent), the food is cheaper (23 per cent) and they believe ordering directly supports the restaurant better (23 per cent).

“For [DoorDash], the takeaway here is how we can amplify this optionality for merchants and consumers,” says Arora. “We’re breaking out into other categories beyond foodservice to bring more variety to consumers and increase revenue for merchants. For dashers who work under three hours a week, the flexibility and earning potential is tremendous. With these insights, we can open up more opportunities. I’m excited about the overall results the report has shown us.”

Arora continues, “Currently, we have about 40,000 merchants on our platform and that number is growing every single day. Our business is really about catering to the three audiences we serve and making sure they feel empowered.”

To download the full report, click here.

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