We surveyed our UK customers to understand their mindset around food and how it’s changed over the last 12 months.
Read the full report now
The Share of Stomach report gives a unique insight into how consumers are feeling, and key opportunities for restaurants to support their businesses.
Here’s what customers told us when we asked what their ordering habits and preferences had been in the last 12 months. How their behaviour changed and how they think about delivery, dine-in and even cooking at home.
The picture from Deliveroo customers is clear as we reach the two-year mark, the effects of the pandemic are far-reaching and still being felt.
Their concerns include their household’s mental and physical health, as well as financial worries. This is despite the UK remaining out of lockdown since the early part of 2021.
Compared to last year 62% of customers are more concerned about their mental wellbeing, likely due to ongoing uncertainty around COVID and future economic conditions.
56% of customers agreed they were more worried about their personal finances than in the previous year, with the same amount stating that they’d be holding back on big ticket purchases. Although not on deliveries.
Food continues to play an important role in giving your customer an opportunity to reward themselves, when they’re not willing or able to splash out on big purchases.
Consumers are still fed up, with the pandemic and with the wider macro-economic conditions caused by it in the last couple of years.
of customers said ordering delivery as a ‘treat’ was the reason for their most recent order
Last year’s report showed that customers in the UK expected to order the same or more in 2021. This year, when we surveyed the UK, France and Hong Kong an increase in orders proved to be the case everywhere.
46% of customers said they were ordering more delivery than last year, compared to just 27% of customers who were visiting restaurants more often.
Only 23% of customers (mostly families) said they’d ordered a meal kit in the last month, suggesting that as a novel form of entertainment, meal kit usage has declined.
Customers are most likely to order delivery as a ‘treat’, with 27% of customers saying this was the reason for their most recent order.
Delivery fulfils a wide range of customer’s needs. ‘Functional’ reasons included not having food in the house or wanting to cook.
Customers also had more urgent, emotional needs like a craving for a certain meal or wanting to cater to a crowd when hosting at short notice. Our younger customers were more likely to order for these reasons.
of customers' last visits to restaurants were to socialise with family and friends
For 51% of delivery orders a decision was made an hour or less before the order itself. This level of spontaneity was consistent across all age groups and demographics.
We found customers treated delivery and dine-in decisions quite differently. Delivery works in a range of situations, for a customer’s functional as well as emotional needs, whereas eating at a restaurant has become more specialised.
40% of customers' last visits to restaurants were to socialise with family and friends, compared to 13% of delivery occasions. Restaurant occasions are far less likely to be functional and far more likely to be ‘emotional’, customers expect an experience when visiting in person.
A group restaurant visit needs to be organised with others, that may be why these were far less planned - 52% of Restaurant visits are planned at least a few days before visiting.
We asked customers what was important to them as part of the research, and found the following:
In last year’s UK report we talked about the vital role that food can play in allowing customers to treat or reward themselves. For customers this was just as important (if not even more) in 2021.
There’s also clear evidence of a variety of different roles that food plays in customer’s daily lives. 72% of respondents agreed that food plays an important role in mental health, showing it’s high up on consumer priorities.
Food is also seen as a vital piece of the puzzle when socialising, and allows consumers to experience different cultures.
The importance of food spreads beyond food delivery or even restaurant visits, each mealtime has the potential to fulfil more than just a customer’s stomach. 56% of customers see cooking as a hobby, taking personal pleasure in preparing their own food too.
of respondents reported they were vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or pescatarian
Customers care about this issue and are increasingly likely to vote with their thumbs based on your credentials.
61% of respondents agree that they think about where their food comes from, and 49% agreed that sustainability is a factor in their ordering decisions.
For customers who place a high value on the sustainability of their food, especially younger ones, you stand to lose out on orders if you don’t show your own efforts in this area.
As well as sustainability, an increasing awareness of the impact of diet on health was clear.
60% of customers wanted to better control their nutrition, and a huge 44% of respondents had at least one dietary requirement - higher amongst younger customers.
Only 5% of respondents (rising to 7% amongst younger groups) claimed to be vegan, however 25% reported they were vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or pescatarian.
Even when customers are unwilling to completely cut things like meat from their diets, it suggests intent to reduce their impact. Of those who said they were vegan or flexitarian, 27% chose this diet for sustainability reasons, and 23% became vegan or flexitarian in the last year.
It’s clear that every food business need to think about how they can allow customers in this growing segment to enjoy a meal, whatever their preference.
We asked almost 3,000 customers about 21 different cuisines, their opinions of them, whether they consider and/or order them for delivery - and why they might not too.
You can see a clear division in the below cuisine map between ‘staple’ delivery cuisines, and less traditional ones. As a cuisine becomes more mainstream in consideration the likelihood of ordering appears to go up exponentially.
Of the 21 cuisines we asked about, the average customer ‘loved’ 5.2 and either liked or loved 10.6 cuisines. That’s more than half of the available options.
In the last 3 months of 2021 customers considered ordering on average 6.6 cuisines for delivery.
This ‘drop off’ is mirrored in the above cuisine chart, and shows that delivery customers have a strong preference for tried and trusted options.
We know that most customers are excited to try new options, expanding their delivery ‘repertoire’ but they might need a little encouragement.
different cuisines were considered by the average consumer in the last 3 months of 2021
When we asked customers why they hadn’t ordered a cuisine on their consideration list, the answer was most often that they ‘hadn’t thought of it’. Without some persuasion, consumers might default to what they see as a safe option.
Here are a few things you can control, when you’re trying to acquire new or repeat customers:
Hub can help you to understand how you’re doing. Your reviews contain customer feedback and Hub insights can tell you how your operations are looking. You can also reply to positive reviews, offering a voucher to encourage them to order again.
When a customer tries a new option for the first time, the stakes are high. Your Deliveroo customer receipt lets you know when it’s a customer’s first time. Make sure your new customer’s experience is memorable for all the right reasons.
Notice a Repeat order on your customer receipt? Think about how you can ‘surprise and delight’ your customer with something - even if it’s just a friendly note - that could make their day.
Your Order ratings help customers to choose you over a competitor (whether or not they’re selling the same cuisine). Order ratings are one of the most important ways new customers judge Restaurants they are considering.
Our Marketer products help to increase your exposure to both new and existing customers. Discounting and meal bundles help to reduce the ‘risk’ of ordering from a new restaurant.
If you handle your own deliveries you can use Hub to edit Areas and fees - allowing you to receive orders from more customers. This also means your drivers will need to travel further to fulfil orders.
We asked customers their main thoughts coming into 2022, how their behaviour has changed in the last year and how they think about Delivery compared to visiting a Restaurant.
"I think we probably struggled with the same issues as everyone else in 2021 - staffing and supplies! Balancing really busy new openings, with queues out the door, while making sure our team wasn’t stretched beyond breaking point.
I’ve been with Wingstop for a year now and we’ve had some great moments with Deliveroo. The team got really excited about our Deliveroo award.
Not only did Grace Dent herself crown us ‘Restaurant of the year’, Deliveroo has been really fruitful in other ways too.
They invest in technology and communicate changes out really well too. We use loads of Deliveroo products, from Marketer to reviews - we’ve integrated our Deliveroo reviews using the Deliveroo API - and Signature allows customers to order direct from our site.”
We switch on or off Marketer campaigns, depending on how an individual site is doing. I think we’ve managed to find that sweet spot between delivery and dine in. Some of that is down to our dark kitchens.
We always try to make sure we’re giving our in-house and delivery customers the same amazing food, I think everyone now knows there’s a connection there."
Andreia Harwood, Marketing Director, Wingstop
Deliveroo's Restaurant of the Year 2021 - Wingstop
"The pandemic has certainly been tough on the restaurant industry, and even with restrictions now lifted, it’s clear that the appetite for food delivery is here to stay.
Understanding exactly what customers want, and how their tastes and ordering habits have changed over the past couple of years, is going to be vital as restaurants seek to bounce back.
Food delivery will continue to boost their revenues and Deliveroo is proud to be helping restaurants reach new customers and grow their businesses."
Carlo Mocci, Chief Business Officer UKI, Deliveroo