A story recently published by USA Today suggests that Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines are the most popular among customers who utilize on-demand food delivery services. Their data comes from numbers supplied by San Francisco-based DoorDash – the country’s leading provider of food delivery. But can this limited amount of information, combined with where DoorDash does most of its business, be used as an indicator of popular food trends? Probably not.
According to their numbers, USA Today ranked the top 15 food items delivered by DoorDash from January through November of this year (2019). Five of the top 10 are Mexican or Tex-Mex foods. Here they are, including their ranking:
- Burrito bowl – #1
- Chicken tacos – #2
- Bean burrito – #5
- Taco salad – #9
- Nachos – #10
Just from these numbers alone it would seem that Mexican food and its Tex-Mex cousin are the clear and consistent winners – at least among those who utilize on-demand food delivery. But there is more to it than that. We have to dig a little bit deeper.
Delivering Food in Texas
The first thing we need to consider is where DoorDash makes most of its money. While the San Francisco company commands a 34% market share nationwide, more than half of all its sales occur in just two cities: Houston and Dallas. That says something big.
You would expect Mexican and Tex-Mex to do well in Texas. Given the size of both Dallas and Houston, it would stand to reason that you would also see a disproportionate emphasis on certain foods due to the sheer number of people living in those metropolitan areas. Things would be different if DoorDash made more money on more deliveries in other parts of the country.
The Food Customization Trend
Another thing to consider is the emerging trend of food customization. According to USA Today, customers who prefer on-demand food delivery are the same kinds of customers who are used to customizing everything they purchase. Thus, food customization is growing. It is no longer limited to pizza and sushi.
Both Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes are highly customizable, explains the owners of Salt Lake City’s Taqueria27 restaurant. For example, all you really need to make chicken tacos are chicken and tortilla shells. You can put any other fillings inside that you want. Customization is easy for the restaurant, as well. It does not take any more effort to leave out the lettuce or throw in some onion.
Still, it is hard to ignore the fact that USA Today’s numbers show the Mexican and Tex-Mex category has grown more than 300% in the past year. Part of that is undoubtedly due to the fact that people just love the food. It can also be attributed to a larger number of Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants participating in on-demand delivery.
As Long as Customers Are Happy
In the end, it doesn’t much matter how accurate USA Today’s numbers are in the grand scheme of things. The fact is that Mexican and Tex-Mex food delivery is fueling their business in Houston and Texas. As long as customers are happy, so are DoorDash and the restaurants they serve.
How about you? Do you utilize on-demand food delivery frequently? If so, it would be interesting to note what you order most frequently as compared to other people in your demographic. Maybe you are a Mexican and Tex-Mex fan. On the other hand, perhaps you are a burger and fries kind of person. At any rate, on-demand food delivery is the real story here. It is changing the way people do business with restaurants.