Restaurant ordering trends are evolving to meet the needs and desires of customers, with a focus on what people order, how they order, and why they order. It’s no secret that one of the major shifts has come as a result of access to mobile applications like UberEats and DoorDash. But what other factors influence the ever-changing landscape of restaurant ordering behavior?

In order to get a comprehensive view of how we are changing the way we dine, we’re going to look at the things we want to eat, the way we want to consume our meals, and the reasons behind our menu choices.

What are We Ordering?

Trends of more conscious ordering behaviors are on the rise. What exactly does that mean? Simply put: more of us are making our choices out of concern for our health and the environment. Restaurants traditionally composed their menus around the standard American diet, with little emphasis on serving options for their health-conscious demographic. Vegans, vegetarians, and people with food allergies rarely had more than a list of a la carte sides they could enjoy.

Now, we have more access to information about what actually impacts our health and we know that our food choices are intertwined with our gut health, systemic inflammation, and other various maladies. Restaurants took notice of their customers’ needs, and many have adjusted with menus that offer thoughtfully crafted vegan and vegetarian meals that even the meat lover may enjoy. They’ve also recognized the gluten intolerances and sensitivities of their clientele and provide substitutions that don’t compromise the integrity of their most popular dishes.

How are We Ordering our Food?

Perhaps the biggest change in restaurant ordering behavior in the last couple of years is in how we order our food. Ordering food from our favorite restaurants through delivery services is probably the best thing since sliced bread. UberEats and DoorDash make it easy for us to feel like we’re dining out without having to leave the house. Better yet, for late nights in the office, or gatherings with friends, we can trade the bag lunches and meal preparation for our favorite restaurant menus.

This change also contributes to the rise of ghost restaurants- or delivery only restaurants who outsource their delivery services and no longer rely on the square footage needed for seating- keeping overhead costs low and food quality high.

Why We Order

The last shift addresses the reasons behind our menu choices. We’ve talked about a move toward healthier options, along with the emerging convenience of delivery services. Our final change encompasses the impact our ordering habits have on our environment and local economy.

Restaurants now acknowledge an increase in the amount of eco-conscious consumers who wish to make a better impact on their environment through their choices- even when it comes to dining out. They’ve embraced this movement in two ways: by supporting local farmers and markets with farm-to-table menus, and creatively utilizing entire plants in their dishes, from root-to-leaf.

They appeal to their customers by not only providing healthy menu options, but doing so by supporting their local economy instead of large food distributors. What’s more, they employ a creative spin on what it means to reduce the waste of these healthful ingredients by giving purpose to every part of the plants they purchase.

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