How Food Apps Are Changing the Restaurant Industry 

How Food Apps Are Changing the Restaurant

As digital sales become increasingly important to the profitability of restaurants, food apps are changing what the restaurants of the future will look like.

In past generations, eating at home was part of the daily routine. Most Americans created home-cooked dinners on a regular basis. However, much of this changed with the creation of the telephone and the development of food delivery.

New applications take this a step further by offering almost endless options on-demand. Each year, more and more diners are choosing to order meals and pay for food online rather than cooking or driving to the actual brick-and-mortar location of the restaurant. It is a trend that will only grow as more and more restaurants become digital friendly with easy-to-use apps. 

“Last year, the number of households eating at home every day witnessed a visible decline. This decline resulted in a large proportion of the household/consumer base ordering food in thereby helping to drive the growth of 100% home delivery,” according to a report by the Euromonitor International cited by Forbes magazine.

As things stand, 40% of today's application downloads are related to food delivery. With the increased demand for deliveries, many restaurants have had to change how their food is prepared, how they maintain market share for their business, and how much emphasis they should put on diners who order from their homes.

Previously, it was common for customers to seek take-out orders only for pizza delivery or Chinese food. Now, the options are much more varied. As reporter Andria Cheng wrote in Forbes: “Restaurants from McDonald’s to The Cheesecake Factory have all hopped on the delivery bandwagon and signed on with platforms like Uber Eats and DoorDash to meet the voracious appetite of consumers seeking convenience in the on-demand economy.”

As more and more diners become accustomed to having ordered food brought to their doors, their tastes have changed. That has required the opportunity to have a variety of foods readily available for quick delivery.

Some cities have preferences for their online orders. San Francisco residents tend to choose Mexican food over other dishes for their online orders. In Washington, D.C. and other East Coast communities, Middle Eastern food is a take-out staple.

While many customers' palates have become more varied, pizza remains one of the most-commonly ordered food items. Because it tends to be so popular, restaurants serving pizza have taken the opportunity to create their own apps, hoping to dominate the market.

Consumers often choose to open an application that is directly linked with the type of pizza they want to have delivered, meaning large chains with established apps like Papa John’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and others do well. According to Forbes, the big companies make up 41% of online pizza orders.

As you might guess, millennials tend to order the most pizza. In a recent study, those in the 18-45 age group are three times more likely to put in a food order for home delivery than any other demographic.

“There could be a scenario where, by 2030, most meals currently cooked at home are instead ordered online and delivered from either restaurants or central kitchens,” UBS declared in a recent Forbes article.

This trend is reinforced by the amount of cheap labor available to work in large kitchens and make the deliveries. It is not out of the question that, in the not-too-distant future, your burger or pizza will be created by a robot instead of a human. With mechanized labor, costs for home-delivered food could go down and be comparable to the price of purchasing groceries.

Moving forward, it seems impossible that food delivery will not be a major part of Americans' lives for decades to come. It may not completely replace the act of buying groceries and cooking, but it figures to significantly cut into that practice.

All of this should increase the popularity of food-related apps going forward. If the fact that 40% of today's application downloads are related to food delivery says anything, it is that users are looking for a simpler experience when it comes to eating.