Throughout the worst phases of the pandemic, large restaurant chains saw order sizes increase as consumers, stuck indoors with family or other cohabitants, opted for group orders for meals. shared.
Now that consumers have resumed their lives away from home, the average check size is decreasing.
On a call with analysts Tuesday, July 26 to discuss the brand’s second quarter of fiscal 2022 financial resultsfast food giant based in Newport Beach, California Chipotle Mexican Grill – which has more than 3,000 locations in five countries – noted a simultaneous shift from digital ordering to on-site sales.
Brand Financial Director, Jack Hartungnoted that with this shift to in-store sales, the digital transaction mix dropped by 6% and the average group size decreased by around 4.5%.
“Even among restaurant patrons, the group size has shrunk a bit, so I don’t know if I would connect those dots,” Hartung said. “But if you see further evidence that families are going back to the way they dined four years ago, where they don’t all get together and dine together, that could be in play.”
He added that the company was also seeing a return to pre-pandemic eating behaviors in other areas, pointing to the brand’s performance with students. Specifically, the restaurant works best with this demographic when school is in session, and then sales with these consumers drop during school holidays.
The shift from digital ordering to dining habits that are more like the late 2010s poses a potential risk to customer loyalty.
“There’s a higher attachment rate to digital,” Hartung said. “So when you see people moving from digital to a restaurant visit, you also see a return to less attachment.”
Yet many consumers continue to order online. Research from the July edition of PYMNTS’ ConnectedEconomy™ monthly study, “The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: The Rise of the Smart Home”, found that more than half (53%) of all consumers ordered food to take away or deliver to a restaurant. website or app in the past month.
Read more: New data shows convenience drove smart home upgrades for 83 million consumers in 2022
Additionally, 43% said they ordered from a third-party aggregator such as DoorDash or Uber Eats during the same time period.
In addition, according to the results of the 2022 edition of the PYMNTS Restaurant Readiness Index, created in collaboration with Paytronix37% of restaurants that generate more than $1 million in revenue generate the majority of their sales through digital channels, and 22% generate between a quarter and half of their sales through these channels.
See also: More than half of restaurants rely on digital sales, despite rise in on-site orders
As Paytronix CEO and Co-Founder Andrew Robbins wrote in the PYMNTS e-book “Baseline 2022: What the Next Six Months Holds,” “Restaurants need to consider the entire customer journey across digital and physical spaces to ensure alignment and avoid friction that can lead customers to abandon their orders out of frustration”.
Related: The future of loyalty lies in a unified economy