New research has revealed an emerging dining trend that’s very much a sign of the times – dining in the car.

The NPD Group conducted a study that revealed customers buying meals with the purpose of consuming them in their car increased by 24 per cent for chain-based operators and 19 per cent for the entire foodservice industry.

Dining in the car is booming thanks to two motivators: accessing food variety (92 per cent) and ‘treating’ ourselves (27 per cent).

It could see the emergence of a lucrative opportunity for venues, with solo diners purchasing weekday lunches increasing their spend by 56 per cent.

Drive-thru concepts also saw an increase of use, to the tune of 39 per cent in Q4 2020.

Independent venues have seemingly disrupted the drive-thru market, as evidenced by the 85 per cent increase in numbers.

“This makes sense as travelling by car obviously widens the field for food options, but another motivation that came through strongly in the data was treating oneself,” says Gimantha Jayasinghe from The NPD Group.

“To me, that indicates people are using mealtimes to get out of the house if they are working from home and as a way of getting some quality ‘me time’ in a safe environment.”