Survey Explores Customer Dissatisfaction With Restaurant Delivery Orders

If you've been falling off your takeout order game since the height of the pandemic, you aren't alone. According to new data from LWM-Associates and Prodege, LLC (via QSR), the enthusiasm for deliveries might be over — or, at least, headed in that direction.

This data comes in stark contrast to another recent report from data firm Chef's Pencil, which found that restaurants across the industry have been hiring more cooks than servers as delivery orders have shifted the pendulum from service toward production. But, it looks like this restructuring might've come a little too late.

One of the main issues, according to many customers, is the lack of quality control. In the study, 30% of foodies reported slower delivery times and 23% reported inaccurate orders. Delivery may be convenient, but it doesn't ensure that your food will arrive in pristine or even good condition, and no one wants soggy takeout noodles. A reported 52% of customers feel more confident that their order will be delivered in a timely and high-quality manner when it's delivered directly by a member of restaurant staff versus through a third-party app like GrubHub or Doordash.

Customers are also growing weary of ever-rising prices: 50% of folks who have ordered delivery in the previous month said that prices had gone up too much, and 47% say the same of the additional fees tacked on to delivery orders. To further worsen the issue, consumers' discretionary spending has been on the chopping block in light of inflation.

A return to in-person dining and bypassing high fees

This decline might have been coming for some time now, and rising prices aren't the only motivating factor. In February, Domino's CEO Russell Weiner reported that yearly same-store delivery sales were down 6.6% in 2022 from 2021, via Axios. At the same time, Domino's U.S. prices rose by 6.3% in Q4 2022 alone. Weiner cited cooking at home, sit-down restaurants, and increased prices as the primary contributing factors — and indeed, the foodies in LWM-Associates and Prodege, LLC's survey would seem to agree, 18% of which said that ordering delivery just "isn't worth it anymore." Doordash shares were valued at a record-high $246 in November 2022, per NBC News, but by April 2023 they'd fallen to $89. Uber shares fell by 29% during that time.

Looking forward, in-person dining has certainly increased as pandemic-related cautions ease. But, in-person traffic might be especially high now in the summer months as al fresco dining options are more in-fashion and help health-conscious foodies feel safer. Plus, realistically, foodies may be more likely to drive or walk to a restaurant themselves and personally pick up their takeout order on a pleasant spring or summer day than on a frigid winter day. Could a slump in deliveries be indicative of summer trends? Time will tell what restaurants can expect — but, for now, it looks like they can put away those takeout boxes.