How Covid-19 Is Changing Our Online Ordering Food Habits

The restaurant industry has completely transformed in the past few months, with dine-in coming to a halt as online ordering skyrockets. 

At MenuDrive, our online ordering platform has seen weekly growth in excess of 100%, with average order sizes scaling from $32 to $48 — a 50% increase in restaurant revenue.

While online orders have increased during Covid-19, how is consumers’ online ordering behavior shifting? We were curious, so we compiled key information from our database, spanning thousands of restaurants around the country. Our key takeaway: People will always want pizza. Always.

Our findings below cover everything from what type of food people want to the highest-traffic order times for each state. We’ve also included some tips for restaurant owners, based on our findings.

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner?

Depending on where you are, order surges differ, but dinner is the most popular meal to order. In Iowa and South Carolina, people start early and are most likely to order breakfast. In Rhode Island, Alaska, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, most people order at 11 AM, enjoying brunch. Georgia and Tennessee diners love ordering lunch at noon. 

Nevada stands alone, with 3 PM being the most popular time for orders. All other states fall between 5 and 6 PM as their most popular order times.

Restaurant owners, you can use this information to determine when to have staff available to fulfill orders, or to plan out your menus during carryout and delivery-only mandates. 

What are people ordering during Covid-19?

Comfort food is king during Covid-19. And it comes as no surprise that pizza is the #1 item for online ordering. For every order of fries placed, nearly four pizzas were ordered! Other popular items include chicken wraps, salami, egg rolls, and Pad Thai. 

South Carolinians and Iowans love breakfast food, which makes sense since residents of both of these states place most of their orders at 9 AM. Bacon is the number one ordered item in South Carolina.

As the data shows, people are turning to comfort food more than ever during lockdowns. Think about what your restaurant can offer that will make customers feel good.

In almost every state, Friday is the most popular day for online orders, just as it was before the pandemic hit. Iowa is an exception — most orders there are placed on Sunday. A handful of states place most of their orders on Saturday.

To take advantage of the busiest days, restaurants could try running specials to catch people’s attention on Fridays. Advertise the specials before Friday to ramp up excitement, and hit your loyal guests with a reminder on Friday.

Order Add-Ons

MenuDrive restaurants have the option to offer customers add-ons when they place an online order, either for free or as upsell opportunities. 

What are folks adding to their food? Here’s a breakdown:

Cheese: Customers love adding cheese to their orders! 11.9% of cheese additions to orders came from Pennsylvania. Ohio had their fair share of cheese additions as well, ranking at an 8.7% share of cheese add-ons. 

Pepperoni: It’s no surprise that with pizza being #1, people are adding pepperoni to their orders. California added pepperoni to 5% of online orders (and made up 10.1% of pepperoni add-ons across states).

Bacon: Washington, California, and Kansas residents love to add bacon to their meals. As they say, everything is better with bacon. Washington makes up 12.8% of bacon add-ons, California comes in second with 10%, and Kansas makes up 8.8% of bacon additions.

Onions: Don’t cut out the onions from your menu just yet! California makes up 20% of all onion add-ons for orders in the US. Pennsylvania has 8.8% of orders with onions added, and New York makes up 7.9% of onions added to orders.

Ranch: Florida adds ranch to their orders more than any other item. Ranch comes in second as an addition to orders in Washington.

Hand-tossed dough: Texans’ love for pizza is clear in their order modifier selections. Neck and neck for Texans’ top modifiers: pepperoni and hand-tossed dough.

Which states have the highest volume of online food orders?

Pennsylvania is in the lead for online orders placed through MenuDrive during the pandemic, with 71,288 orders. This could be due to the state’s government-run liquor stores shutting down, causing people to seek out comfort foods even more. 

California is a close second, with 67,378 online orders. Texans have made 66,751 orders through MenuDrive during the pandemic so far. In New York, 62,013 orders were placed, while Florida comes in fifth, with 53,106 orders. 

We hope sharing this information from MenuDrive’s online ordering platform will help your restaurant not just survive these hard times, but thrive down the line. If you haven’t set up online ordering for your restaurant yet, we’d like to invite you to check out our services and start giving your customers what they want: a way to order your food easily with the click of a few buttons.

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