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A Closer Look at Consumer Dining Patterns during COVID-19

The good news is restaurants remain top of mind for consumers. The bad news is consumers are not entirely comfortable using restaurants.

March2020 HowCustomersUseRestaurants chart 1A Datassential study conducted March 24 – 25 showed that 57% of consumers considered visiting a restaurant but only 30% actually followed through within the last day. Prior to the onslaught of the coronavirus, approximately 50% of consumers would have visited a restaurant the day before, per Datassential.

Among the consumers who did patronize a restaurant, 65% went to a limited-service location, while 35% went to a full-service location. Digging deeper into Datassential’s data, only 25% of those visiting a restaurant went to an independent. The remaining 75% went to a chain restaurant.

Consumers remain split with respect to their comfort level when using restaurants. While 51% of those surveyed by Datassential said they felt very safe visiting a restaurant, 41% said they were nervous and 6% said they felt at risk. The better news is the fact that 66% of consumers say restaurants will be safe to use within the next 3 months.

It’s interesting to note that dinner has become the most popular daypart, followed by lunch, according to the Datassential study. While breakfast has long been seen as daypart with considerable growth potential, it lags considerably behind both dinner and lunch.