Takeaway Sales in the USA

June’s Chart of the Month shows the daily value of takeaway sales in the USA over the last five years.

The onset of COVID-19 last year cleared the chatter of diners from restaurants, replacing them instead with the frenetic hum of mopeds delivering meals. Sales of takeaway meals have ballooned, up 120% since the start of last year and – despite the gradual reopening –  still seem to be holding strong.

Since 2016, our eating habits have pivoted towards deliveries, as companies such as Uber-Eats, DoorDash, and Deliveroo have integrated themselves into many people’s lives. However, the constraints of lockdowns accelerated this, with over 20,000 new customers ordering their first takeaways every day last year. Sales were further driven higher by the average order value increasing from $35 to $45, as diners had more cash to spend on treats.

Whilst delivery companies are unconcerned that restaurant dining is now only 10% off pre-pandemic levels, owing to an dramatic expansion in their customer base, investors are not so sure. Shares in DoorDash, the largest delivery company in the US, have crumbled by a quarter since they went public last December for two main reasons. Despite booming sales, most of these businesses are still running a huge loss as they throw money at software developers and advertisers to attract new customers. They also face rising costs as regulators demand drivers are paid wages rather than per delivery.

Today’s Question of the Month:

2020 has certainly been a feast for takeaway companies, but is their growth sustainable and will diners continue their new lockdown eating habits?

Written by Tristan Hand

Data Sources

McCarthy, M. & E. Oblander (2021). How has COVID-19 Impacted Customer Relationship Dynamics at Restaurant Food Delivery Businesses? Retrieved 2021-05-31, from https://ssrn.com/abstract=3836262.