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Half of Diners Are Ready To Eat Out at Least Once a Week

Our latest survey with OpenTable covers trends and priorities for restaurants and their customers

Maggie Borden

March 17, 2021


Two masked women sitting at an outdoor table looking over a menu in Woodside, Queens, NY photo by Clay Williams
Photo: Clay Williams

In February, we teamed up with OpenTable to survey over 21,000 diners and over 300 industry pros across the U.S. and Canada to weigh in on dining today and in the near future. As we mark a year since the COVID-19 pandemic first forced shutdowns around the country, we mourn the losses of lives and businesses crucial to local communities, but also celebrate the innovation and adaptations that arose in the face of unprecedented challenges. Grab the full report here, and read on for a peek into how owners, workers, and diners view the industry.

Diners are eager to get back to restaurant tables, if they haven't already
  • 31% of diners say they've already resumed their pre-pandemic dining behavior, and for those who haven't, 33% anticipate resuming their regular dining out behavior between April and September 2021
  • 54% of respondents plan to dine out at a restaurant with table service at least once a week in 2021
Pandemic pivots like expanded outdoor seating are here to stay
  • 82% of diners want restaurants to continue to expand outdoor seating
  • 91% of diners want restaurants to keep offering takeout and delivery, and 52% want to still be able to get wine and beer to go
  • 71% of diners want to keep seeing contactless pay, ordering, or menus (and 51% of restaurants want to keep offering contactless payment post-pandemic)
Safety is still top-of-mind for diners
  • Over 70% of diners say it's extremely or highly important for restaurants to require diners to follow safety precautions, have staff wear PPE, space tables more than six feet apart, or communicate strict cleaning policies
Diners are thinking beyond the menu when it comes to where they eat
  • 3 out of 4 diners feel it's important that restaurants provide fair wages and benefits to their staff (and more than half of restaurants want to prioritize providing health insurance to their employees in 2021)
  • 50% of diners want restaurants to give back to their local communities (but 84% of restaurants plan to do so in 2021)

Read the full report here.

Learn more about the James Beard Foundation's efforts to help keep restaurants open for good.