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Millennials increasingly can’t be bothered to go out to eat

The Energy Kitchen’s bacon cheddar burger with a side of baked sweet potato fries. (Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

Americans increasingly don’t want to leave their homes — not even for food, according to a new report.

About half of U.S. adults said they had ordered food delivery in the past three months, according to a survey by research firm Mintel. Among them, nearly 60 percent said they had done so to avoid venturing out into the world.

Other reasons for ordering in: Being able to catch up on television shows and movies (cited by 41 percent of respondents), and the appeal of eating alone (about 25 percent).

“Before, when people thought of delivery, it’d be pizza or maybe a Chinese restaurant,” said Caleb Bryant, an analyst at Mintel. “Now any food, from fast food to fine dining, can be delivered right to your couch.”

Unsurprisingly, food delivery was most popular among millennial men in urban areas, with 69 percent of them having ordered in during the past three months, compared with 58 percent of women aged 18 to 34. Overall, 45 percent of Americans of all ages had ordered restaurant delivery of some kind, according to the report.

Lunch is too expensive

“We generally see that young men are the heaviest restaurant users across the board,” Bryant said. “They’re willing to spend a bit more on convenience.”

But, he added, “we’re seeing a lot more people try out these delivery services, even compared to a year ago.”

As a result, companies including Amazon, Uber and Google have added restaurant-delivery services in recent months. ( chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.) At Grubhub, one of the country’s largest delivery companies, revenue hit a record high of $120.2 million last quarter. The Chicago-based company processes roughly 271,100 deliveries per day, more than double what it did three years ago.

“We have made great strides with delivery, including three acquisitions,” Chief Executive Matt Maloney said in a call with investors earlier this year. “Momentum is strong.”

Much of that growth is being driven by millennials, who increasingly value convenience over cost. Delivery services promise everything from beer and movies to dry cleaning and paper towels with the tap of a button.

“This is really about convenience,” Bryant said. “People can get restaurant-quality meals at home, without having to gather together their friends or significant other.”

But don’t discount dining out just yet: 65 percent of survey respondents said going to a restaurant was still more fun than eating in.

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