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Almost three-quarters of customers (73%) say they will dine out within days or weeks of the hospitality sector re-opening, according to a poll by the restaurant intelligence platform Yumpingo.
Its poll of 374 diners found that a third (34%) say they will try to visit outside of peak times, with more than half (57%) saying they will happily visit restaurants and bars at any time as long as social distancing measures are being observed.
Only a small minority of diners (7%) plan to forego eating out until a vaccine is available.
The results support the findings of an earlier poll by Caterer.com that found that almost a third (31%) of consumers plan to go to the pub within a week of being allowed to do so, increasing to over half (53%) in London, and 30% plan to dine out within a week of restaurants reopening.
Diners also say they expect a narrower range of menu options to be offered, indicating that efforts to tighten a restaurant’s food offer will be readily accepted, says Yupmpingo. They also expect to be served by fewer waiting staff.
Many customers also expect price rises post lockdown, with 60% of diners saying they expect to pay slightly more once restaurants reopen.
Health and safety is also cited as a top priority by respondents, with 47% saying that one of their key criteria for choosing where to dine will be a restaurant’s social distancing policies exceeding the legal requirements.
To that end, 92% say they will would consider using their own device to view menus, order and pay to counter their concerns over traditional restaurant contact-points like cash and 49% will be reluctant to pay with cash.
“It is welcome news for the hospitality sector that diners in the main aren’t going to put off eating out, even though they will exercise some caution in their approach,” says Yumpingo founder and CEO Gary Goodman.
“Traffic will move from peak day-parts to a broader spread across the day as guests socially distance on their own terms.
“This coupled with a general acceptance of a pared back menu should help restaurants transition to a lower operating model as they reopen.”
To see more research findings please download the Yumpingo guide ‘The next normal: Optimising the UK restaurant experience post-pandemic using data, tech and insights’