Just after the calendar turned from 2020 to 2021, two in three consumers indicated they were optimistic about the year ahead. Even with the optimism spurred on by the new year, consumers expect to be ordering takeout and delivery for awhile. As the pandemic nears the eleventh month, consumers are keeping meals within the confines of their own dining rooms, not those at restaurants. However, there is pent-up desires and hopes to return to restaurants and see long-missed friends over a meal. Operators need to stay ready to ensure that every guest’s first meal back is a memorable experience.

Guests will likely want their first meal back at a restaurant to be a more subdued affair, so they can catch up with people they missed. Operators will want to ensure social distancing and food safety in the dining room. Consumers expect their first meal back to be comforting. Most are longing for recipes that will make the experience relaxing, so that they can linger and socialize with friends for a while, making that first time back memorable.

Off-premise ordering strategies are still the trend of the day, and any guests who operators can serve indoors or outdoors, have higher expectations for food safety and COVID precautions. Now is the time to reassure consumers about your safety policies, it will pay off later when the pandemic appears to be over.

In this report, you’ll find data and insights around consumers perceptions of dining at restaurants in the new year. Check out Waypoint’s blog for recipes and solutions to satisfy patrons looking to get healthier or maintain a healthy lifestyle in 2021. Key takeaways from this report are as follows:

  • 48% of consumers say they will definitely avoid eating out
  • 50% of optimists think they will get to see their friends and family in person soon
  • 48% of optimists think they will get to do what they loved doing outside the house (eating at a restaurant, going to the movies, etc.)
  • 57% of pessimists think the country will not get the coronavirus under control fast enough
  • 41% of pessimists think they’ll still be unable to visit a restaurant or movie theater for awhile
  • 57% of consumers want to improve their health and lose weight
  • 41% of consumers want to cut back on sugar
  • 29% of consumers want to support local restaurants by ordering more
  • 58% of consumers are looking forward to going out to restaurants once they are vaccinated
  • 62% of consumers said they will continue to order for delivery or takeout over the next few months

Download the report from Datassential by clicking the button below.