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High Fuel Prices & Consumer Behavior

In the past when consumers had to pay more for gas they cut back in other places. That typically meant they ate out less. This time around many restaurants offer online ordering with curbside pickup or drive-thru and delivery options as a result of trying to maintain business during the COVID pandemic. Those restaurants are better prepared to deal with consumers’ reactions to higher fuel prices.

One way consumers deal with high gas prices is to consolidate their trips. Instead of going out a few times, they’ll order online so they can pick up prescriptions, groceries, and food for dinner when they pick up the kids from school. They need to plan in advance to do everything in one trip since the kids will be in the car. Restaurants with curbside pick-up provide options beyond the typical fast food drive-thru that parents want for their families.

Consumers are also turning to delivery and may order more so they can count on leftovers for a second meal. Restaurants with no-commission delivery and a low per delivery cost do well with these customers because they benefit from higher ticket amounts without paying more to offer delivery.

At SWIPEBY we’ve seen our operators increase business quickly when they add curbside and delivery options. They get new customers and overall customers order more. By offering curbside and delivery they capture new and returning customers. So it might be possible for restaurants to help ease the pain of higher food costs due to fuel price increases.

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