As we begin to get through 2021, it is expected that the food industry may shift in its approach to getting their food into the hands of hungry customers. Food delivery apps like Grubhub and Doordash have exploded in popularity over the last two years with over 20 million users on each app. This has more than doubled the industry and exposes unprecedented consumer demand for all types of restaurants to be accessible with a simple swipe on your smartphone. Just within the last year, 74% of Americans that frequent drive-through options at restaurants report that they’ve visited either just as much or more often than before the COVID pandemic. this is pushing family-owned businesses and chain restaurant alike to explore other ways to expand the availability of their food services.
Even before the pandemic, drive-throughs still accumulated about 60-70% of the sales, foreshadowing the growing market for quick and consistent food service. Fast food restaurants have always been a step ahead of the times, with McDonald’s Corporation the prime example of how the convenience of drive-through fast food can be the key to success in the restaurant industry. Many well-established competitors were already adopting the drive-through way before the availability of direct food delivery, so small businesses looking to open in the coming year should consider drive-through options for their building to offer a quick alternative for customers on the go. Local businesses in our region have been hit hard financially by the pandemic, so it’s important to keep in mind the current trends of how exactly restaurants across the country have been responding to the needs of consumers safely and efficiently.
With one month into the new year already, the increased use of drive-throughs and overall growth of fast-food accessibility shows no signs of slowing down over the next few years. Even grocery stores have implemented their own versions of drive-in services like e-commerce, personal shopping, and pick-up windows attached to the pharmacy. For those who shy away from fast food and like to cook from home, there are meal kit brands that deliver the exact recipe and ingredients right to your door. The food industry thrives on the demand for innovation, convenience, and consistency and will soon pave the path for other markets to follow suit. In a world as demanding as ours is today, consumers can appreciate a business’s effort in assuring quality service and a quick bite to eat.