Back to Specialty Food News

More Fast-Food Customers Eat Off Premises

Across U.S. fast-food chains, diners ate 14 percent of orders at restaurants in the first five months of 2023, compared to 21 percent before the pandemic, according to data from market research firm Circana, reports The Wall Street Journal. This demonstrates that fewer customers are opting to dine-in when eating a fast-food meal.

The pandemic hastened a consumer shift toward to-go. Big companies started investing in their online ordering and drive-through experiences.

“You don’t necessarily need the big dining rooms that you needed in our traditional restaurants,” McDonald’s chief executive Chris Kempczinski said during an investor call in July. In meeting customers where they are, McDonald’s and other chains are developing restaurants focused on drive-throughs and carryout, with a limited or nonexistent dine-in option, according to the report.

Despite the shift toward takeout, chains still want to create a modern in-store experience. Burger King, for example, is spending millions to encourage franchise owners in the U.S. to renovate their locations. McDonald’s, too, pledged to spend billions to help U.S. franchisees pay for digital kiosks, modern furnishings, and more. Full Story (Subscription Required)

Related: Campbell Soup to Acquire Rao's Parent; Industry Voices: Inflation Changed Consumer Behavior