Inflation Boosts Restaurant Pickup Adoption for QSR Customers

restaurant pickup

As food prices remain elevated, PYMNTS research shows fast food fans are switching to pickup.

The Context

Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are seeing their customers opt more for these channels and cut back on delivery in the face of rising price concerns.

Domino’s Pizza’s, for instance, which has more than 19,500 stores around the world, said Thursday (Oct. 13) on a call with analysts regarding its third-quarter 2022 financial results that carryout same-store sales grew 19.6% year over year in the quarter. Meanwhile, CFO Sandeep Reddy noted that delivery sales were down 7.5% year over year.

“Our research shows that a relatively higher delivery costs might lead some customers to prepare meals at home,” CEO Russell Weiner told analysts.

Meanwhile, many brands are focusing on drive-thru pickup. Even fast-casual brands, which historically did not rely on the channel, have been expanding their drive-thru options, with brands including Chipotle, Shake Shack and Sweetgreen investing in growth in the channel.

In an interview with PYMNTS, David Bloom, chief development and operating officer of fast-casual sandwich chain Capriotti’s and its subsidiary, Wing Zone, noted that brands have been emphasizing pickup in their marketing.

“That’s still the most quote-unquote ‘cost efficient’ because there’s no delivery fees and those types of things,” he said. “So, we’re making sure that people understand that, and we’re highlighting that to give people a choice.”

By the Numbers

Fast-food fans far more than full-service restaurant (FSR) customers are being incentivized to opt for pickup options in an effort to avoid the added fees such as service charges and tipping associated with delivery.

For PYMNTS’ February study, “Connected Dining: Rising Costs Push Consumers Toward Pickup,” we surveyed more than 2,100 U.S. consumers in January about their restaurant dining habits and expectations. The findings revealed that 52% of consumers whose most recent restaurant purchase was from a QSR are more likely to order for pickup because of inflation. In contrast, only 43% of those who had most recently ordered from an FSR said the same.

restaurant changes from inflation