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Biggest Restaurant Spenders Are Disenfranchised Foodies And Chain Loyalists

Anyone hungry? Awesome. In COVID-era ordering terms that’ll be 88 trillion tacos, 222.3 gazillion pizzas, and 900 oil tankers full of Diet-Coke, Sprite, Kombucha — the works.

In a zesty “we’ll take one of everything on the menu” spirit, the January 2021 PYMNTS report, Delivering On Restaurant Rewards, a Paytronix collaboration, takes a discriminating look at volcanic change that’s reshaped how we eat, pay and earn/spend restaurant rewards.

To give a sense of scale, the sheer scope of change, researchers estimate that American consumers “spent a collective $769 billion on ordering food [in 2020], and $486 billion — 63 percent — of that expenditure was spent on food eaten at home. Digital purchasing channels played a key role in the rise of the new, takeout-centric restaurant industry. Of the $486 billion consumers spent on food eaten at home in 2020, $434 billion — 89 percent — was spent on orders placed via desktop websites, mobile apps and aggregator apps.”

And there you have it. Part of it, anyway. The January 2021 edition of Delivering On Restaurant Rewards is chock full of insightful data to help restaurants navigate the next normal.

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You May Want To Sit Down For This

What’s truly amazing about overall spending stats is this more granular finding: a majority of online food orders placed in 2020 were to restaurants that only offered sit-down dining services pre-pandemic. That translates to $264 billion — a whopping 61 percent of the $435 billion consumers spent on online food orders last year — went to eateries that were once sit-down.

For fans of fine dining that’s happy news, as quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and fast-casual chains have dominated since lockdowns began and we all packed on the “COVID 19 pounds.”

Something else is observed when sit-down dining gourmands must make do with delivery: they spend more. According to Delivering On Restaurant Rewards, “Sit-down restaurant customers who order takeout spend more per month than any other type of restaurant customer.”

That’s explained by apps, drinks and all the add-ons that the sit-down crowd order up.

Where one eats impacts quite a few variables. As the report found, “Restaurant customers’ monthly food expenditures also varied depending on whether they ordered from independent restaurants or chain restaurants. Consumers who ordered takeout or delivery from chain sit-down restaurants spent more per month than any other group: $188 per month last year on food they ate at home. Consumers who ordered from QSRs to eat on-site spent less per month than any other group, by contrast, spending only $90 per month on food orders last year.”

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Hey Big Spender: Loyalty Members Twice As Nice

For seekers of the biggest spenders, restaurateurs need look no further than the members of their own loyalty program. The loyalty impulse is alive and well-fed among this group.

“Those who used their restaurants’ loyalty programs spent far more on food orders in 2020 than those who did not use such offerings. This was true regardless of whether they ate their food on-site or at home,” according to the new Delivering On Restaurant Rewards report.

“The average sit-down restaurant customer who used rewards programs spent $167 per month on food eaten on-site in 2020, for example — 92 percent more than the amount sit-down restaurant customers who did not use rewards programs spent. The difference in expenditure is even greater between consumers who ordered takeout from dine-in restaurants.”

PYMNTS found that customers who ordered takeout from sit-down restaurants and used loyalty programs spent $232 per month on food orders last year — “more than twice the amount customers from the same restaurants who did not use loyalty programs spent.”

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