Last week, the Ontario government implemented a new stay-at-home order to coincide with yet another lockdown. Now more than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s most heavily-populated province is enduring its toughest time yet. Needless to say, the pandemic has lasted far longer than any of us would have hoped for. It has certainly changed what we consider “normal” in terms of the way we live day to day.

This is certainly true for restaurant owners who have spent a very long time without operating their businesses normally. At the present time, no restaurateur in our province can have customers dine in their establishments. They are relegated to offering takeout and delivery only. It goes without saying that the pandemic has vastly changed the ways in which people order and enjoy their meals.

The majority of Canadians now order their food online.

Gone are the days when “calling” for a pizza was the norm. Today, people surf the internet searching for their next meals. In a CTV News report that started off the new year, Meredith McLeod revealed that 63.8 per cent of Canadians ordered food online in some way in the last six months of 2020.

These findings came as a result of a survey of nearly 7,300 Canadians. It was conducted by Agri-Food Analytics Lab (AAL) at Dalhousie University in November 2020. It also “found that nearly 29 per cent had ordered directly from a restaurant in the last six months and a little more than 26 per cent had used a delivery app. Almost a third had used curbside pickup or home delivery for groceries.”

People have changed when they order.

MiQ research has found that online orders for pickup and delivery are booming all over Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. They have noticed that the pandemic has not only created a surge in online orders, but a preference for travelling shorter distances to restaurants for pick up orders. That’s understandable, considering the regular requests for us all to stay at home. However, MiQ also points out that people have changed when they order food.

“Orders are up by almost 12% on weekdays, with Tuesdays seeing the biggest gains and weekends seeing fewer orders as the notion of a ‘weekend’ loses its meaning,” reports their website, “Take-out orders are more common on weekends, while online orders are more likely to happen on weekdays. Time of day is also a major factor – dinner orders are only up 3% (and late night orders down 11%), while lunch orders have increased 18%.”

 People spend more time weighing their options.

Ordering online seems to give people more peace of mind. Consumers have noticeably taken more time to make their selections. Perhaps, this is simply due to not having to be cater to a server’s inquiries about whether or not they are ready to order.

“People are spending more time looking at different restaurant options before placing an order, going through 1.7x more sessions before adding an item to their basket and spending 31% more time per session,” says MiQ.

Can your restaurant’s customers order food directly from your website? Contact Unity Payments to quickly set up your own online ordering system for your restaurant! Call us at 1-800-661-3761 or email us at