British diners hungry to return to restaurants while operators navigate the unknown
Guest-sentiment expert Yumpingo conducted a study into consumer attitudes to help restaurants come back better with good news that diners plan to return within days of restrictions being lifted
73% of consumers plan to return within days or weeks of lockdown being lifted
A third say they will only visit outside of peak times
Handling condiments, cash and menus are key areas of concern
London, June 3rd 2020 - Restaurateurs have been working toward July openings according to the latest Government plan with little insight into what guests expect when they return to dining in-restaurant. A new extensive study fielded by Yumpingo, the restaurant intelligence platform, shines a light on diners' attitudes and concerns for post-lockdown to provide much needed direction to operators on likely consumer behaviour.
According to Yumpingo’s survey of UK consumers, almost three-quarters (73%) say they will dine out within days or weeks of the sector re-opening. As operators assess how to maintain social distancing while maximising revenues and bolstering profitability, it’s a promising sign that a third (34%) of polled consumers say they will try to visit outside of peak times, which would even out spikes and troughs in demand across the week. More than half (57%) say 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.
Additional points of note: diners expect a narrower range of menu options to be offered, indicating that menu optimization efforts will be readily accepted; diners expect to be served by fewer waiting staff; and 60% of diners expect to pay slightly higher prices, perhaps in acknowledgement of the financial difficulties publicised about our industry.
Yumpingo founder and CEO Gary Goodman says, “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. 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.”
Although diners are keen to return to venues, health and safety is a top priority so open communication about hygiene measures will be a key to building confidence. Almost half (47%) say 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, almost all (92%) would consider using their own device to view menus, order and pay to counter their concerns over traditional restaurant contact-points like cash (49% would be reluctant to pay with cash) and menus (40%) would be concerned about touching menus). Note that consumers are less concerned about interactions with staff (23%) or servers handling tableware (36%).
Gary Goodman says, “The drive towards contactless digital customer engagement is now a hygiene factor for how restaurants get back to work. With so much change at play, restaurants need to quickly understand how safe and happy their guests feel as soon as they open your doors. It’s only by listening that great operators can adapt to this constantly changing new normal.”
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’