Commuters Hungry for Mobile Food Ordering 

Why wait until you get home, when you can place your order on the go? 

Author: Jen King

October 15, 2018

People that rely on public transportation for their daily commute spend that downtime on their smartphones doing the obvious—reading the news, catching up on email and more—but they’re also using that ride to place takeout orders.

A September 2018 survey from Fetch polled 1,700 US mass transit commuters in the top 10 US metro areas, based on AllTransit rankings, about how their smartphone activities have changed in the past two years.

Of the 10 activities listed, 43% of commuters said they use their smartphone more now than two years ago to order food by using an app like DoorDash or Grubhub, while 41% said they do so now the same amount as they did then.

Commuters often know down to the minute how long their travel time should be, making food ordering apps a welcomed convenience, whether it's coffee en route to the office, or takeout picked up on the way home. The survey found that 21% of respondents use food ordering apps on a daily basis, and close to a quarter (24%) order meals this way weekly.

Digital has led to an uptake in takeout. According to NPD Group data, half of all dinners purchased at restaurants are eaten at home now. Consumers’ ability to order from their preferred establishments with the option to eat in likely has something to do with this. Indeed, US grocery executives surveyed by Progressive Grocer cited prepared foods as the most important brand enhancement for 2018. Meal prep stations were deemed much less important but still were favored by close to one-third.

Last April, orderTalk, a software provider to the restaurant industry, found that more than six in 10 US internet users have ordered food with an app or from a website. And once the order is placed, a March 2018 TrendSource survey found that around one-third of US internet users would be very or extremely likely to use a restaurant app to pick up in-store, the choice with the highest level of interest.

Slightly fewer had interest in using a restaurant app for delivery (29.3%). Even as consumers are given more options for receiving food, many prefer to pick it up themselves. Perhaps this is out of habit, convenience or to save on delivery fees and tips.