Digital Orders Rise to One-Third of Total C-store & Restaurant Food Orders 

Takeout is the most common digital order type, according to Paytronix report.
omnichannel shopping at c-stores

NEWTON, Mass. — Digital guest experience platform Paytronix Systems Inc. found that most consumers prefer digital ordering over in-store shopping experiences, according to the recently published "2022 Paytronix Order & Delivery Report: Navigating the Digital New Normal."

In particular, digital orders have risen to one-third of total restaurant and convenience store food orders— up from just 12 percent pre-pandemic. While in-store sales remain down by nearly half,  digital orders have remained elevated at 113 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

During the early onset of the pandemic, guest behaviors quickly shifted to online food ordering, which established a new normal over time. Today, approximately one-third of all deliveries are from guests who order multiple times a month.

The "Navigating the Digital New Normal" report also found that:

  • 33 percent of orders now come in through digital channels;
  • 55 percent of digital orders are for takeout as opposed to delivery or curbside; and,
  • 12 percent is the average tip paid by a delivery customer, vs. 5 percent for takeout.

Simultaneously, as c-stores and restaurants adopt their personalized systems through digital transformation, they can further understand the needs of personalized consumer behaviors and also optimize their businesses. 

"Our 'New Normal' means the digital guest experience is no longer secondary to the physical experience, it's front and center and marks one of the biggest changes I've seen in 20 years working with brands," said Andrew Robbins, CEO of Paytronix. "The opportunity for brands to use artificial intelligence to make experiences more personalized is huge. 

"Learning directly from guests, presenting them with recommendations that resonate and instantly responding to their feedback with a personalized message from the store manager, is elevating brands that rely on their ability to connect with their guests," Robbins added.

With increased digital ordering trends, omnichannel power and connecting consumers is invaluable to c-stores and restaurants. Recently, Convenience Store News' 2022 Realities of the Aisle Study found that half of shoppers who have tried c-stores' online ordering services are using them more now than a year ago. 

The "Navigating the Digital New Normal" report identified five key reasons why digital ordering is highly valued as the new normal:

  • Rise in Takeout Orders — While delivery was king before and during the height of the pandemic, more recent data indicates that takeout orders now dominate digital orders, with numbers even higher than they were pre-pandemic. Takeout jumped from approximately 35 percent of orders in January 2020 to a majority in March 2022, a trend that appears to be increasing.
  • Third-Party Delivery Is Here to Stay— Third-party services will continue to play an important role in a customer acquisition strategy. To achieve success in today's new normal, restaurants and c-stores need to embrace new technology and third-party options, and explore how to successfully integrate them into existing operations.
  • Delivery Customers are Different — For much of 2021, the average delivery tip was 12.5 percent of the subtotal, more than double average takeout order tips, and 2021 takeout orders included a tip just 37 percent of the time compared to nearly 73 percent of the time for delivery orders. Delivery customers are also more loyal, with 31 percent of orders coming from repeat customers.
  • Customer Feedback — Saving a guest relationship pays off. Paytronix data shows that issuing a coupon costs a restaurant $2.30 on average, but results in a $9.20 lift in that customer's lifetime value. That four-time return on investment means a timely guest recovery strategy is a must-have.
  • AI Is Key to Gauging Customer Sentiment — Fifteen percent of reviews with a rating of 4.5 or better actually have a negative sentiment and could benefit from action, while three-star reviews most frequently contain negative sentiment.