Ordering Food Online Might Mean Consuming More Calories

A recent study found that ordering your meals online isn’t so good for your waistline.
pizza on a computer screen

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Laptop Computer with a Pizza on its Display

Photo by: Anastasiya Maksymenko

Anastasiya Maksymenko

Ordering food online is as easy as a click of a button. Plus you avoid the long lines and there’s no human interaction. But a recent study found that ordering your meals online isn’t so good for your waistline.

The Study

A 2012 study by Ryan McDevitt, an assistant professor at the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business, examined the patterns of people who ordered food by phone or at the counter from a franchised pizza establishment compared with those who ordered online. They looked at over 160,000 orders made by over 56,000 unique customers over 4 years. The most notable differences between those who ordered online compared to those who ordered over the phone or in person included:

  • Customers ordering online spent $0.61 more (4%), on average, though they ordered fewer items. The increase in cost was due to increased toppings.
  • The items ordered online were 15% more complex and had 6.1% more calories.
Understanding the Results

Although ordering online may be easier, it seems to be a good vehicle for customers to go a little overboard (like adding quadruple the bacon topping) without feeling guilty. The researcher concluded that folks probably feel less inhibited when they’re ordering online—which makes a lot of sense. When you quadruple a fatty topping over the phone or in-person, you may feel like the person who’s taking your order is judging you. Luckily, the computer doesn’t judge or give you a funny look when you order something a little more complicated.

Bottom Line

Don’t hide behind the computer screen! Be conscious of the order you’re placing and make it a healthier one.

TELL US: Do you order take-out online?

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