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Consumers Want to Dine Out: Study

Diners have new expectations when it comes to sanitation and technology, according to Oracle's latest study.
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Tired of cooking at home, consumers are anxious to dine at their favorite restaurants according to a new Oracle Food and Beverage study. The survey found that 59% of US consumers plan to dine-out as soon as they are able. In fact, as soon as it’s deemed safe to reopen, 26% of US respondents said they plan to return in the first week.

Building Trust with Tech

Diners are looking for reassurance on cleaning procedures and technology to reduce contact with servers. Forty percent of those surveyed in the US said they would feel safer if they could view the menu from their mobile device, while 35% in the US would like to be able to pay in the same manner.

But while limited dining options are available, people have shown an increased desire to help out independent restaurants. Thirty-nine percent of those in the US ordered more frequently from their local restaurant than before the crisis.

The study, commissioned by Oracle and fielded by Untold Insights, examines the dining preferences and behaviors of 2,000 consumers in the US and UK prior to and during stay-at-home-orders.

Mixed Take-Out Bag

Ninety-five percent of Americans noted they often ordered take-out before stay-at-home orders began. Interestingly, that number dropped to 88% in the US during stay-at-home orders. As restrictions ease, 69% of overall respondents plan to order take-out at least once a month, with 36% of planning to do so at least once a week.

38% preferred to pick-up their food. A negative take-out experience – ranging from a reduced menu to poor service – was a deal-breaker; 23% stopped ordering from an establishment due to a bad experience during stay-at-home-orders.

Can’t Touch This

As noted, contactless technology was high on the list for customers to feel comfortable dining out again. On top of the ability to view menus and pay via a personal device, 30% of overall respondents also preferred to pay remotely via kiosks or tablets that could be easily cleaned by servers. 

Direct vs. Delivery?

Despite the popularity of third-party delivery apps, many consumers prefer to interact directly with the restaurant itself. The survey found that 86% of overall respondents prefer to order directly from a restaurant, rather than using a third-party app or other platforms. Of those, 35% prefer to order directly over the phone, while others prefer to order digitally either through the restaurant’s website (35%) or a restaurant app (18%).

Generational Divides

Restaurants are seeing the strongest comeback from the millennial generation (25-39) and the largest decline from the boomer generation (55+). Fifty-six percent of millennials overall reported that they dined out on a weekly basis prior to stay-at-home-orders and that 41% intend to dine out every week after restaurants reopen. In contrast, 28% of boomers previously dined out weekly and only 12% intend to continue that frequency upon reopening, representing a 57% decrease.

Buying Local

Consumers rallied to support local restaurants, as nearly 40% noted they purchased more frequently from independent brands during stay-at-home-orders.

A consumer’s brand loyalty was also impacted during recent events, with 33% of overall respondents citing an increase in loyalty to the brands they frequented during stay-at-home-orders. This sentiment was most prevalent with millennials, with 43% reporting an increase in loyalty.

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