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Traditional ‘dine-in’ is out, so what’s next for US restaurants?

Sadia Corey VP, Client Development 13 October 2020

US restaurants are beefing up alternative solutions to the traditional dine-in experience

Fear of getting infected from COVID-19 is the biggest barrier to not dinning inside a restaurant

Of all the businesses threatened by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, few have felt the impact as deeply and immediately as the restaurant industry.

While less than quarter (22%) of consumers dined-in at a restaurant in the past month, ordering through drive-throughs (46%), pick-ups (34%), and mobile apps (27%) is becoming the new norm.

Taking a cue from the increase in drive-through traffic, some of the major fast-food chains have initiated steps towards reducing the wait time of drive-through orders by training staff and adapting digital menu boards.

More casual and fast-casual chains are adapting drive-through, takeout orders, and home delivery options to stay afloat.

Most consumers (88%) went to fast-food restaurants when ordering food from a drive-through, followed by fast-casual restaurants (30%) and casual dining restaurants (22%).

For those who ordered delivery, almost three in five (58%) preferred casual dining while the other half ordered from a fast-food chain (53%) or fast-casual dining restaurant (50%).

Over two-thirds (68%) of those who dined-in did so at casual dining restaurants (68%) followed by fast food and fast-casual dining restaurants (41%).

Fast food restaurants were the preferred choice among those who ordered food for home delivery (61%), followed by fast-casual (48%) and casual dining (42%).

The quality of food was the top driver (58%) for considering a restaurant followed by taste (55%) and price (50%).

Ease of placing an order and safety are both essential requirements, as more than two in five (46%) consumers consider it necessary. About one in five (18%) of those ordered/ dined-in consider loyalty cards a critical factor in choosing a restaurant over others.

During the pandemic, safety has become the most critical barrier for dining in at a restaurant.

Fear of getting infected from COVID-19 is the biggest barrier to not dinning inside a restaurant (42%), followed by a preference for home-cooked food (34%) and safety (29%). Therefore, restaurant brands need to communicate the steps they are taking to bring back the diners.

At Savanta, our BrandVue Eating Out platform covers 150+ brands across the category and captures and analyses the views and trends of thousands of diners annually. It enables us to provide detailed research and analysis, forming beneficial insight into carious industry sectors, including restaurants, takeaways, dining, fast food, food delivery services and more.

To find out more about how BrandVue Eating Out can help you during this time, please get in touch and speak to one of our experts.