Food delivery surged during the pandemic, and several truckstop and travel plazas continue to have success with food delivery options.
Brian Couch, owner of Donna’s Travel Plaza, said demand has slowed down since COVID, but has remained steady once everything opened up. “Breakfast items by far outsell everything else,” he said, adding that he works with Door Dash and Uber Eats. “One might be higher than the other one week then switch the next. The overall sales are steady though.”
Broadway Flying J works with Uber, Door Dash, Postmates and Grubhub. “We really got into it at the beginning of the pandemic. We wanted to keep as many people as we could working,” said Damon Borden, operations manager at Broadway Flying J Travel Plazas.
DoorDash’s 2022 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends report found that 86% of consumers order takeout or pickup as much or more than they did last year, while 83% order delivery as much or more than they did last year.
As pandemic restrictions wane, dining in is also seeing a resurgence. Door Dash reported that 74% of consumers dining inside a restaurant as much as or more than they did last year.
The National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Industry Report found that 63% of adults feel restaurants are an essential part of their lifestyle. That statistic includes 75% of millennials and 70% of Gen Z adults, indicating that restaurants will grow more vital in years to come.
Technology has aided in food delivery capabilities. NRA reported that just a few years ago, restaurants couldn’t have managed the level of off-premises demand that occurred during the pandemic. However, technological advances are becoming table stakes, and more than eight in 10 operators participating in NRA’s State of the Industry Report said the use of technology in a restaurant provides a competitive advantage.
For those ordering delivery or take out, 24% use a logistics platform, such as UberEats of DoorDash, 23% go to a restaurant’s website or app, 20% search for restaurants using an online search engine, and 10% go to a preferred restaurant directly, NRA reported.When ordering delivery or takeout, 92% of consumers said they often or occasionally try new menu items. The remaining 8% said they never try a new menu item.
Couch sees the food delivery as advertising. “Last year was a record year for us in the kitchen and this year is up over that,” he said.
// This article was created for Stop Watch magazine, the magazine of the NATSO Foundation. The NATSO Foundation is the research, education and public outreach subsidiary of NATSO, Inc. The NATSO Foundation provides programs and products aimed at strengthening travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the traveling public through improved operational performance and business planning. Visit www.natsofoundation.org for more information. (Donate to the NATSO Foundation here.)
Subscribe to Updates
NATSO provides a breadth of information created to strengthen travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the travelling public in an age of disruption. This includes knowledge filled blog posts, articles and publications. If you would like to receive a digest of blog post and articles directly in your inbox, please provide your name, email and the frequency of the updates you want to receive the email digest.