Two scoops of ice cream dusted with pistachio powder with a to-go cup of chocolate sauce

The Market for To-Go and Delivery Desserts

The frequency with which Americans order food for takeout or delivery has increased steadily since the concept was introduced. It didn’t take long for people to buy into the idea of restaurant-quality food in the comfort of their homes with little effort, and now to-go options have expanded beyond pizza to include almost any food item imaginable.

The recent pandemic saw a sharp increase in in-home dining and the popularity of comfort foods. If a 5-star burger or seafood dish is available for curbside pickup, why not cheesecake or a multi-component plated dessert?

Bakeries and coffee shops have long offered a grab-and-go approach to baked goods and pastries, and recent trends have made this aspect of the restaurant and bakery business even more important.

 

Natural-brown takeout container, text to left: Food delivery is here to stay; in 2021, over half of survey takers said that food delivery and takeout are “essential to the way they live.” Hotel Tech Report 1/26/22

Trends in To-Go and Delivery Food and Dessert Sales by the Numbers

  • In 2021, 68% of consumers said they were more likely to order takeout than they were pre-pandemic.* 
     
  • Currently, 38% of consumers eat dessert more than once a week, up from 24% in 2019.**
     
  • Creative, signature desserts that consumers can’t easily buy from retail may help sway diners, as 33% of consumers sometimes visit a restaurant because of a specific dessert it offers.**
     
  • Technomic’s Takeout & Off-Premise report found that 43% of consumers ages 18 to 34 (and 30% of consumers overall) say they purchased more food when they order it for takeout or delivery than when they dine in. 
     
  • According to a recent DoorDash survey, 23% of respondents cited “desserts” as the food they missed most due to restaurants being closed and being difficult to prepare at home.
     
  • In some markets, more than HALF of consumers would consider ordering to-go desserts, but only 34% of businesses promote their dessert offerings!

Reducing waste is top of mind as consumers say the number one environmental impact on their food choices is the availability of low-waste packaging

Mondelez "State of Snacking" Report
Cookies in natural-color brown to-go box

5 Tips for Increasing To-Go and Delivery Dessert Sales

  1. Stand Out: Make sure your menu items are unique and special - something customers can’t get anywhere else.
     
  2. Focus on flavor: Chocolate is a MUST. Current flavor trends include citrus, tropical fruit, caramel, and vanilla.
     
  3. Go for a mix of Classic & New: While some diners are looking for innovative flavors, many customers seek comfort foods and classic flavors. Offer both!
     
  4. Choose your packaging wisely: Keep components separate when necessary, be mindful of items that are best when kept hot or frozen, and choose sustainable packaging whenever possible.
     
  5. Promote! Shine the spotlight on your dessert options and consider offering promotional pricing.

* Hotel Tech Report 1/26/22
** Technomic Industry Insights 11/21/2021