An economic impact report from DKM Economic Consultants — commissioned by online delivery firm Just Eat — has found that nearly €1.5bn is spent on takeaway/delivered food by Irish consumers and its popularity is growing.
In its analysis, DKM said that takeaway services currently account for 57% of restaurant sales and the sector is likely to grow by 17% in the next four years.
Online orders could grow by between 40% and 60% it added.
The report counts nearly 3,000 takeaway establishments across Ireland, adding that half of all restaurants offer take-out services.
“The report reinforces what we have been aware of for a long time — the growth in smartphone penetration is impacting on consumer behaviour and, in the case of the takeaway sector, is helping to drive growth,” said Just Eat Ireland managing director Amanda Roche-Kelly.
“The numbers speak for themselves; the takeaway sector is a major employer and contributes to the economic lifeblood of towns and cities across the country,” she added.
DKM’s economic contribution estimate is based on everything from restaurant sales and wages to money spent with food suppliers and corporate tax paid.
Last year, Irish food outlets — the study covers everything from on-the-go breakfast/brunch orders from coffee shops in the morning, to sandwich/salad orders at lunchtime to takeaway orders from restaurants in the evening — sourced nearly €700m worth of goods from Irish suppliers, while the sector paid around €450m in tax to the exchequer.
By 2020, DKM sees spending on takeaway food rising to over €1.7bn; GDP contribution from the sector approaching €1.15bn and tax take for the State to top €520m.
The rise in general population as well as the increase in broadband and smartphone usage will drive future growth, DKM director John Lawlor said.
“In terms of the future of the sector, we see that technology is a clear driver of innovation as embodied in the business model of Just Eat.
"Technology is driving innovation and growth in the sector; 30% of adults have ordered takeaway food online and national smartphone usage is expected to continue to grow,” he said.
Nearly 30% of takeaway food spend was located in Dublin last year, with Munster accounting for just over 26%.