Consumer preferences have changed. These insights will help your restaurant recover.
  • 15% of consumers will go back to dining in a restaurant as soon as possible.
  • 35% of consumers report they ordered take-out “more or much more” compared to pre-COVID.
  • 30% called up for delivery
  • 28% made more trips through the drive-thru
  • Gen Z and Boomers agree on one thing: they were the most likely to increase take out behavior during the pandemic.

These insights and many more are included in RMS’ consumer research, conducted in April and in May, designed to keep our clients informed during these times without historic precedence. Each survey had more than 1,000 respondents – 1,800 from the UK, US, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan in April and 1,200 from the U.S. in May – who shared their insights on dining out, what eases their concerns, how much they’re interacting with restaurants now, and how their habits have changed.

The bottom line

Normal has been upended, replaced by unlikely trends (Gen Z and Boomers agreeing on takeout?) and new habits.

In April, consumers viewed the shelter-in-place orders that shuttered restaurants and kept them home from work and school as a temporary interruption. At that time, the majority of respondents (58%) believed restaurants would recover quickly (less than a year) and nearly all respondents (99%) believed the industry would experience a full recovery,

After two months in lockdown that thinking changed. Now, consumers believe we are facing a new normal. The majority (55%) of respondents in our May survey believe recovery will take at least 12 months – a 40% drop in confidence. A sizable 10% of respondents believe the restaurant industry will never recover.

Consumers are also a lot more cautious. In our recent survey, 64% of respondents said they wouldn’t return to restaurant dine-in for more than 4 weeks, with at least 24% reporting a concern of contamination.

What remains similar from April to May is the need to see visible implementation of safety and hygiene. In fact, 39% of respondents believe that sanitation and safety measures are here to stay for restaurants.  

Doing the right thing

In our April survey, more than 75% of respondents trusted that the restaurant industry was able to safely produce and deliver meals. This is evidenced by the increase in limited contact channels and overwhelming success of those brands that pivoted to delivery, take out and drive-thru since March.

We have been at home much longer than we thought, but consumers still want to interact with restaurants, just on their terms (and in their kitchens).

At Revenue Management Solutions, we are committed to finding data-driven answers to helping restaurant brands drive sales and profitability. In these uncertain times, we remain committed to helping you navigate your path to recovery.