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Surveying Americans on Food Delivery Usage [2023]

Alex Miller's image
Alex Miller
Alex Miller's image

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

296 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

36 Published Articles 3273 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Do you ever wonder how much those empty takeout containers are cutting into your bottom line?

With the invention of food delivery apps, ordering from your favorite local joint has never been easier. To figure out how much those quick and easy meals are (sneakily) eating away at Americans’ budgets, we surveyed over 2,000 people on their food delivery habits to find out. Keep reading to see whether Americans’ takeout habits are helping or hurting their bank accounts. 

Delivering Fresh Findings

Infographic displaying Americans' delivery and tipping habits
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

Whether you run out of food at home or you don’t own a vehicle, delivery can be convenient for some and a necessity for others. According to our survey, 78.8% of participants use delivery services every so often, while just 21.2% say they never order delivery.

We were surprised to discover that Americans spend over $1,566 annually on food delivery services, with an average order cost of $35.42. On average, they order 3.7 times per month, and delivery eats up 3.7% of their annual income.

Americans recently witnessed a more significant surge in grocery prices (13.1%) compared to food consumed away from home (7.6%), making eating out a cost-effective choice for some individuals, especially with grocery items like eggs, milk, and butter on the rise. 

Out of the Americans who use food delivery services, 38.6% of them regularly tip 20% on their orders, while 2.1% do not tip their drivers.

When ordering delivery, participants are most often in the mood for American (26.8%), pizza (23.2%), and Chinese (15.3%) out of every other type of cuisine. Who couldn’t go for a late-night milkshake, burger, and fries?

In terms of the most popular food delivery app, we found that DoorDash was the most widely used (45.5%), followed by direct orders placed through the restaurant (21.1%).

Some Americans take their food delivery game seriously with 23.5% being members of delivery programs like Grubhub+ or Uber One. An Uber One membership offers attractive benefits like a $0 delivery fee on Uber Eats and up to a 10% discount on eligible Uber Eats delivery and pick-up orders.

Fees are a huge concern for Americans, so much so that even President Biden is attempting to pass the Junk Fee Prevention Act to eliminate excessive concert fees, early termination cell phone fees, and other charges. 

Although it’s unclear how this bill could affect food delivery fees, they remain a major deal-breaker for some Americans, with 35.1% stating that they won’t order food if the delivery fee is high. 

In some cases, ordering food through delivery apps can be up to 91% more expensive, but that doesn’t stop 27.4% of respondents who are willing to pay for their food even if they’re charged delivery fees.

Using a Rewarding Credit Card

1 in 5 (20.57%) participants pay for their deliveries with a credit card that rewards such purchases. Whether you order açaí bowls or late-night tacos regularly, consider checking out our top credit cards for food delivery services.

“Food delivery subscriptions can add extra costs for the convenience. Having a credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership through December 31, 2024, can save you the $9.99 monthly fee, provide reduced fees, and include free delivery,” according to Christine Krzyszton, Senior Finance Contributor with Upgraded Points.

She added, “Monthly credits for food delivery purchases can also offset your costs. The Platinum Card® from American Express provides $15 each month in Uber Cash ($35 in December) when you add your card to your Uber account. That’s a total of up to $200 each calendar year. The card also provides Uber VIP status which includes free delivery.”

Which State Spends the Most on Delivery?

Map displaying how much each state spends on delivery annually
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

We examined food delivery trends from coast to coast to find out which states splurged on delivery more than others. 

Iowa indulges in delivery more than any other state, spending about $3,366 annually. Iowans spend the most on delivery per order at $45.11, which is 27.4% higher than the national average. They also order delivery the most on average (6.2 times per month). Maid-Rite is one of Iowa’s celebrated fast food staples, serving loose meat sandwiches, wraps, salads, and milkshakes, and is available through many delivery apps. It’s even older than McDonald’s, with the first one opening in 1926. Eating out on a budget is easy when there are milkshakes involved!

New Jersey comes in at number 2 on the list and spends an average of $2,427 annually on food delivery, which works out to $39.46 per order. On average, New Jerseyans order delivery 5 times per month. Foodies in New Jersey have access to a range of delivery options, including The Burger Shop, which features a ’60s-style dining room and a burger of the month. Bonus: it delivers through popular food delivery apps such as Uber Eats and DoorDash.

Arizona ranks third and spends approximately $2,227 annually on delivery, which averages to $41.81 per order. Residents in Arizona order delivery over 4 times per month on average, and it accounts for 5.6% of their annual income.

On the other hand, Wisconsin orders delivery the least, with only 2.5 times per month, followed by New Hampshire at 2.6 times per month. Wisconsin prioritizes its budget over its cravings and spends less than $1,000 annually on delivery, with a total of $938. Perhaps residents of Wisconsin took the Wisconsin Saves pledge, a campaign aimed at helping Wisconsinites get out of debt, save for a home, and make other smart financial decisions.  

Arkansas closely follows with the second lowest annual delivery spend at $1,038. Its residents spend the least per order ($26.66) and only order 3.2 times per month on average. Overall, delivery makes up only 2.8% of their annual income.

Methodology 

To find out how much Americans are spending on delivery and other food delivery trends, we conducted a nationwide survey of 2,110 respondents over the course of 2 weeks in March 2023. Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming were omitted from our research due to insufficient sample sizes. 

The data reported above reflects the spending habits and perceptions of those who say they use food delivery services. 

To calculate the percentage of income that goes toward delivery, we compared the median income in each state from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to the cost and frequency of delivery orders based on survey responses. 

Full Data 

Below, you can find our complete dataset for state-by-state delivery spending.

Final Thoughts

Many Americans treat themselves to delivery during busy work weeks and while relaxing on the weekend. However, eating out on a budget can be difficult when most Americans spend over $35 per order, which amounts to $1,500 annually. 

Certain states are also more likely to indulge in takeout than others. For instance, Iowa and New Jersey are among the top states that spend the most on delivery annually while states like Wisconsin and Arizona have a more modest delivery budget. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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