It’s no secret that delivery has made life at home a little more enjoyable for many people during the last two months. At Yelp, we’ve been inspired by the resilience of restaurants across the nation, and their ability to provide safe food delivery to their customers. We’ve seen white tablecloth restaurants and cocktail bars quickly pivot to preparing takeout versions of their food and drinks, and on May 30th, communities across the country will celebrate Yelp’s second Big Night In, to support their local restaurants by ordering delivery.
This got us thinking: What are people across the country craving the most right now? What we found was a mix of delectable dishes and drinks that tell a story of how American taste buds differ from state to state and region to region (or not…we’re looking at you, tacos).
When we first looked at the results, pizza delivery reigned supreme, which is no surprise since it delivers well and it’s perfect for a family night in. However, we dug into the data to find the most uniquely popular delivery order in every state*, and that’s when things got interesting. We found that Yelpers are having everything from bubble tea and poke bowls to catfish and gumbo delivered. As it turns out, biscuits are a favorite in D.C., where the Goat Cheese & Herb Biscuit Sammie at A Baked Joint is referenced in 317 reviews, and Texans haven’t let COVID-19 stop them from enjoying the peak crawfish season (Yelpers recently raved about their to-go orders from Boil House in Houston, among others).
Does your go-to delivery order match up with the most relatively popular item in your state? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter at @Yelp.
*To determine the Most Popular Delivery Order Unique to Every State During COVID-19, Yelp data scientist Samuel Hansen mined the text of dish names ordered since March 16, which marked the start of shelter-in-place orders across the nation. Specifically, Hansen employed a natural language processing technique called term frequency-inverse document frequency (TF-IDF), which quantifies how frequently a dish is ordered in a state relative to its popularity in other states. After standardizing the dish names (e.g. truncating “2 pieces of fried chicken” to “fried chicken”), Hansen computed the TF-IDF scores for each dish in each state, in order to identify the top three dishes per state: the most regionally popular food-delivery items. Lastly, Hansen named one of the top three relatively popular items in each state as the state’s singularly popular delivery item.
The Most Popular Delivery Order Unique to Every State During COVID-19