NEW YORK, June 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As the United States begins to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers place health and safety as their main focus in making decisions on whether or not they'll dine in restaurants, according to a new study of nearly 7,000 Americans, released by restaurant discovery platform Zagat today.
The Zagat Future of Dining online study was conducted in May and distributed in partnership with the James Beard Foundation. The results included 6,775 consumer responses. 76% of respondents reported that pre-COVID-19 they dined out 2 or more times per week. A complete summary of the Zagat Future of Dining study can be found via Zagat Stories here.
Among the Zagat Future of Dining study's key findings were:
- Health and Safety Is Paramount - 3 in 4 diners cite health and safety concerns as the biggest deterrent to dining out, far outweighing financial reasons. Outdoor seating and reduced restaurant capacity are most likely to increase comfort levels and influence return. 83% of those not immediately interested in returning to restaurants will be made more comfortable with social distancing measures and masks worn by staff.
- Consumers Taking a Wait and See Approach - The study clearly showed that diners miss restaurants and the entire experience of dining out, but when restaurants reopen, comfort levels vary. 2 of 3 diners are planning to wait more than a week to return to a restaurant. Of those, 93% will wait more than 3 weeks and 20% say they'll wait more than 3 months.
- Cooking and Home Delivery Surge - As expected, consuming meals at home has become a much larger part of consumers' lives during the crisis. In terms of economic impact, 51% of people are very/somewhat likely to reduce spend on dining. Grocery shopping, along with streaming service subscriptions and contributing to investments were the areas of spending least likely to be cut. In addition, restaurant delivery continues to grow. 69% of consumers ordered delivery pre-COVID-19 growing to 88% during — a +19% increase. Of those not dining out immediately, 82% will continue to order delivery/takeout.
"Restaurants play a vital role in every neighborhood. This study serves as further evidence that COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the people, businesses, and the communities that rely so heavily on their operations," said Chris Stang, chief executive officer, Zagat and co-founder of restaurant discovery platform, The Infatuation. "Our goal with conducting the Future of Dining study was to help understand the COVID-19 related challenges that restaurants face in hopes that the local, state and federal government will identify ways to assist the industry in returning to operation safely and rebuilding itself to best address consumers' needs."
In order to spark dialogue between chefs, industry leaders, and diners, the data sourced from this study will be shared as a resource for the James Beard Foundation's Open for Good initiative, which helps independent restaurants survive, rebuild, and thrive.
Information from this study can also serve restaurant owners in discussions with government officials at the local, state, and federal level to best understand the support the industry will need to operate their businesses successfully, while ensuring consumers feel comfortable.
During the pandemic, Zagat has highlighted chefs and restaurants discussing the impact of COVID-19 on their business, partners and communities, via its Zagat Stories platform. Zagat, along with its parent organization, The Infatuation, has raised awareness, funds, and offered media and promotion at no charge in support of restaurant workers, the industry and the community-at-large for the James Beard Foundation and World Central Kitchen.
Press Contact: Michael Sinatra - [email protected] - 551.574.8031