As restaurants are getting ready to open their doors again, it’s uncertain if customers are ready to dine out. For the past few months,while restaurants have been closed, consumers have developed a habit of cooking and eating at home. So what will the reception be like when restaurants begin opening their dining rooms to guests once again?
With most of the country under stay at home orders these past few months, people have been forced to change their eating habits. Prior to the pandemic, more Californians preferred dining out as compared with cooking at home. Since then, however, a large majority of the population were compelled to develop the new routine of cooking and eating at home. There are other side effects which have developed with this new routine as well, such as more time dining with family, discovering a new found joy in cooking and creating unique dishes catering to their own preferences.
Undoubtedly, it will be a challenge for the foodservice industry to lure customers back into their dining rooms after all these months of doing without. Discounts and incentives would certainly help. But the main reason for diners to choose a particular restaurant over another is food quality and taste. In many cases, dishes created by experienced and professional chefs are impossible to replicate at home. It’s important to maintain consistent quality of the food to pre-pandemic standards in order to satisfy the expectation of returning diners..
Consumer confidence will also be a primary factor for someone to decide whether or not to eat out in the future. Restaurants that follow state and local reopening guidelines such as making sure tables are properly distanced and staff wearing appropriate gear, can give customers a sense of assurance that sanitation is a priority. Diners would feel safe to know that their food is being prepared and served hygienically.
The good news is that 70% of the population have ordered takeout or delivery from restaurants during the pandemic. Regardless of whether this is due to cooking-fatique or just craving favorite dishes from a neighborhood cafe, it’s a sign that consumers still value the service and convenience that restaurants have to offer.