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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 491 | AIRED 06/08/2020

Post-Covid Dining : What Does It Look Like?

June 8th, 2020 --- In this week's episode we provide a COVID-19 update on Current Consumer Dining Trends as a beacon for restaurants to find out what consumers want in the new normal dining experience.

---In analyzing new data from a leading food industry research firm, it shows that consumer purchasing food from restaurants continues to rise, and that dinner is now the top restaurant daypart, but consumers still remain optimistic about the safety of dining inside of restaurants.

In a recent survey, it was found that approximately 2 in every 5 consumers had recently purchased food from a restaurant, and that a total of 42 percent of consumers continue to chose restaurant meals, up from 30 percent recorded this past March.

This is still lower than a pre-Coronavirus average of 50 percent.

Post Covid Consumers Dining at Restaurants

These stats are increasingly encouraging, demonstrating that restaurants are in the mind for most hungry Americans.

When tracking ordering lunch vs dinner, dinner is now the top restaurant daypart, compared to pre-Coronavirus numbers, that declare lunch to have always been the favourite.

Restaurants should consider optimizing their menu for dinner traffic, including a focus on family-style meals or packages that provide the consumer with options for additional meals the next day.

As for where consumers are choosing to eat, given the option of independent restaurants vs restaurant chains, it's proving that Americans still prefer chains - and the Coronavirus Pandemic has had no impact on the marketshare between these two segments.

Looking at the future new normal dining experience, the overall momentum is that customers are ready to take their meals back into restaurants, with 47 percent of surveyed participants saying they would be willing to dine in at a restaurant that has patio or outdoor seating.

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--- Now highlighting some pain points experienced while ordering food during this pandemic, we hope restaurants can address these concerns to make the process more turnkey once again.

The top "obstacles" voiced by Gen Z's and Millennials range from difficulty with clarity on operational hours, menu items and specials, and are frequently giving up on ordering because due to frustration with the online process including long holds or no answers on telephone orders.

Some other concerns for customers in regards to restaurant food are affordability, despite stimulus checks, cleanliness and safety measures, such as ensuring staff are wearing proper PPE, and heavy wait times.

When asked how restaurants could adjust their process to be more convenient for customers, some of the suggestions were:

- To have a standardized implementation of contactless delivery and pickup options (i.e. using Drive-thru systems as an example).

- To have more effective progress updates and curbside pickup notifications.

- Sanitizing the take-out contents right infront of the customer's view prior to hand-off.

- Allowing more customization with online ordering to posting daily menus online or being able to order days to a week in advance.

--- Tying this back to the seafood industry and we know that seafood is still currently a protein mainly ordered during a dine-in experience.

As dining-in starts to open back up around the world, we forecast seafood to pick back up as a center-of-plate protein at white tablecloth establishments as consumers celebrate events such as engagements, anniversaries and birthdays.

On the restaurant takeout side, seafood producers should work closely with foodservice to help restaurants deliver take-out optimized seafood offerings all while providing more value, safety, and convenience to customers.

The foodservice landscape has changed forever and we need to adapt to the new normal dining experience, instead of waiting for the industry to return to normal.

--- As a last note, we'll leave you with this map of restaurants re-openings in the US as of June 2, 2020.

We'll provide a PDF of this map below this video.

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