Over half of consumers are still not willing to actually eat in restaurants, according to new research from Washington State University that was sent to The Spoon. If stay-at-home orders are lifted, 61.67 percent of consumers are still won’t dine at a restaurant immediately, according to the new study. That’s still a boatload of people wary about going out to eat, but the figure is actually down 4.19 percent from two weeks ago.
The new research follows up on a previous report by WSU’s Carson College of Business released at the end of May. Both papers examine COVID-19’s ongoing impact on the restaurant and hotel industries.
Other notable numbers from this new report include:
- 13.06 percent of respondents said it is “very likely” they will eat in a restaurant dining room immediately, up 4.4 percent from two weeks ago.
- 24.79 percent suggested that they will only feel comfortable to dine in when their communities can better test, trace and isolate COVID19 cases.
- 14.27 percent said that they will only feel comfortable to dine in at a sit-down restaurant when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.
- 64.71 percent said various technologies at sit-down restaurants will be necessary in order to minimize human-to-human contact.
On that last point, the research lists contactless payments, digital menus, and service robots as a few of the technologies consumers would like to see in their local restaurant going forward, which is in line with many of the predictions about what restaurants will look like in a post-pandemic world.
WSU’s new research also underscores the need for restaurants to continue with their off-premises orders even with dining rooms reopening. Would-be customers are clearly still wary about sitting down in a restaurant, reduced capacities remain in place for dining rooms, and there’s still no coronavirus vaccine available. All of which is to say, the restaurant industry has a long, slow recovery still ahead of it.