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Consumers dine out more frequently, embrace ordering directly from restaurants: Manifest

Dining-out stats contradict reported restaurant avoidance

A significant number of consumers are returning to restaurants despite a well-documented reticence to do so. A total of 63 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Manifest indicated they had dined out at a restaurant at least once during the month of July. Twenty-two percent reported they had dined out five or more times. This, despite 58 percent of consumers saying they would be uncomfortable/very uncomfortable eating at a restaurant because of COVID-19.

The majority of consumers dined out at a restaurant 1-2 times (30 percent) in the past month, while a material number ate out between 3 and 4 times (11 percent). A total of 8 percent of survey respondents indicated they had dined out 5-6 times. Another 4 percent reported dining out 7-8 times and another 10 percent more than 8 times.

For certain, restaurants are heeding CDC recommendations and taking precautions. This includes providing outside dining options, requiring masks inside, separating dining parties by six feet, and limiting the number of customers allowed in at one time. In fact, a report from foodservice consultancy Technomic finds that a growing number of consumers expect restaurants to adopt safety measures to make them more comfortable when dining out.

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Additional findings from Manifest’s research shed light on recent behavior in ordering from restaurants. A total of 65 percent of consumers ordered food delivery from a restaurant instead of using third-party apps like DoorDash, Grubhub or Uber Eats, which saw usage of 12 percent 11 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

It appears that consumers are supporting restaurants directly, increasingly more aware of the cost structure of eateries. According to Manifest, restaurants must pay 15 percent to 30 percent in delivery commission fees, which can make many orders unprofitable. Moreover, curbside pickup, and restaurants using QR codes and deploying self-delivery are ways to adjust restaurant business to the pandemic.

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Conclusions from the survey suggest that restaurant operators should prepare for the cold fall and winter months, which may bring additional challenges to attracting diners on-premises. Investing in pickup and delivery programs will pay dividends. Manifest, which conducted the above research, is a business resource website that provides how-to tips and business news.

Photo credit: Louis Hansel (featured preview image)

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