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  1. Food

Restaurant delivery services are here to stay. Bite Squad tells us precisely what our fetish foods were in 2018.

Tampa Bay ordered a whole lot of Chick-fil-A nuggets in 2018. Bite Squad crunches the numbers on our delivery habits.
EVE EDELHEIT | Times Two lunch specials from 9 Bangkok Restaurant, Sept. 13, 2016
Published Jan. 14

Tampa Bay, it seems, is all about Thai food and chicken. Chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches, boneless wings (which, spoiler alert, are not wings at all). Restaurant delivery service Bite Squad has crunched the numbers, tallying their online orders in 2018 by category and restaurant in 375 cities from Seattle to Palm Beach. Fun facts: Collard greens became the hottest new craving in Minneapolis while Gainesville saw a 700 percent uptick in gator orders in 2018.

In Tampa Bay, the No. 1 food item ordered was wings, burgers came in second, pizza in third, burritos after that. No big surprises there. But then things get interesting. Pad Thai from 9 Bangkok Thai and Sushi in St. Pete was the No. 1 ordered item, their spring rolls were No. 3. and their crab Rangoon and fried rice also made the top-ten list. Chick-fil-A also won big this past year, coming in second for their nuggets and fourth for their sandwiches. Really, diners? You can't hop in your car and use the drive-thru like a civilized grown-up? You need the Bite Squad guy to bring it to your couch?

The answer, obviously, is yes. Online food delivery is more than a fad. Almost 30 percent of millennials today order food or beverages through a delivery app every week, driving an industry that's projected to be worth $365 billion by 2030. Restaurants all over the country, especially in big metro areas, are removing seats in order to accommodate UberEats and other delivery service workers. There are even restaurants opening that have no seats or customers at all — their entire business model is fulfilling to-go and delivery orders. Bite Squad, one of dozens of such services, hustled food from more than 11,000 U.S. restaurants in 2018, a number that is growing daily.

What delivery foods took a nosedive in 2018? Salads. (Remember all the romaine scares?) 9 Bangkok Thai and Sushi was the runaway winner in Tampa Bay in terms of volume of orders, with BJ's Restaurant coming in second, Oishi Sushi and Japanese third, PIN Wok & Bowl fourth and Chili's fifth. That's a surprising amount of Asian food we hanker for whilst Netflix binging, which may explain why everyone now has a whole kitchen drawer filled with wooden chopsticks in paper sleeves and tiny packets of soy sauce.

1. Pad Thai from 9 Bangkok Thai and Sumo Sushi
2. Nuggets from Chick-fil-A
3. Thai spring rolls from 9 Bangkok Thai and Sumo Sushi
4. Chick-fil-A sandwich from Chick-fil-A
5. Boneless wings from Mugs n Jugs Sports Bar and Grill
6. Crab Rangoon from 9 Bangkok Thai and Sumo Sushi
7. Create your own ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery
8. Fried rice from 9 Bangkok Thai and Sumo Sushi
9. Soft shell taco from TacoSon Mexican Grill
10. Chicken entree from Oishi Sushi and Japanese

Contact Laura Reiley at lreiley@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.

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