60% of Consumers Concerned About Dining Out Due to Coronavirus

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The constant updates on coronavirus and COVID-19 are hard to take.

But the combination of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring a pandemic; all major sports, Broadway theater and major amusement parks closing through at least the end of April; most major events being cancelled; states confirming infected patients; and politicians and celebrities testing positive for the virus, has made finding good information about the food and beverage business difficult.

We all can sense that this rapidly evolving news is already having an effect on our guests, but how can we know what consumers will do or how they'll change their behaviors toward eating and dining out?

Datassential have initiated a study to find out what people are specifically worried about regarding coronavirus and to dive deeper into which segments of the food industry will contend with the biggest impact.

Relative to coronavirus, consumers overwhelmingly believe food from home to be the safest option. Coronavirus has led to nearly 60 percent of consumers being concerned about eating out, with one in five “definitely” avoiding doing so. These are significant figures that suggest a considerable reduction in restaurant traffic should coronavirus infect more communities.

Full-service restaurants need to act. A majority of consumers indicate they are most likely to decrease their visits to sit-down restaurants. Here they are quite loud and clear: while some may reduce their usage of delivery, takeout or drive-thru, those numbers pale in comparison to the 54 percent who most anticipate curbing their trips to FSRs.

Datassential's first COVID-19 study, fielded last week with consumers across the nation, is the freshest data on people's attitudes toward eating and dining out in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The HotShot Report on COVID-19, available for download soon, will track not only consumer but also foodservice operator sentiment, and the firm will update that research on an ongoing basis.

To contact Datassential about this and other reports, contact Colleen McClellan at [email protected].

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