How are consumers feeling about going out to eat as restaurants begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and open their dining rooms?
Measure Protocol, Decode Consulting and Garden Social Beer Garden and Kitchen surveyed American adults in order to find out the answer to this question. Insights from the research are available in a new report “How will restaurant dining behaviour shift after COVID-19?” which shows consumers plan to change their dining behaviors in the coming months.
The data, partially collected with Measure Protocol’s blockchain-powered MSR research app, showed that consumers have a surprisingly high awareness of the significant impact that the pandemic is having on restaurants. Specific concerns were uncovered during the research, providing opportunities for restaurants to proactively address customer needs.
Among the key findings:
- Respondents (77 percent) believe that restaurants have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, above the airline (54 percent) and live entertainment (42 percent) industries
- Consumers are empathetic toward the plight of restaurants and are less concerned about the risk of going to a restaurant (31 percent) than to a public event (57 percent) or taking a flight (52 percent)
- Caution is a leading sentiment when considering a future restaurant visit as 48 percent will try and go back but will be very cautious; 37 percent fewer plan to dine at restaurants at least weekly
- Consumers (73 percent) expect new requirements and protocols to be in place for six months to at least a year, and feel that visible evidence of cleanliness procedures are most important (86 percent)
“As a small business owner we are all thinking about what’s the new norm, and what does America 2.0 look like in terms of dining — that’s what we’re trying to figure out with this study," said Dave Boller of Garden Social Beer Garden & Kitchen in New York. "It’s not about who makes the best burger anymore. It’s about who makes the customer feel most comfortable. We believe this research begins to paint that picture."
The complete report illustrates further data on consumer sentiment, and advice for specific actions that restaurants can take to address audience concerns.