According to a new research report, consumer dining behaviors have shifted significantly since the onset of the pandemic. The restaurant industry was one of the most immediately and profoundly impacted industries, with restaurants forced to pivot when the pandemic hit to keep doors open. One of the report’s key findings is that there is no longer one single dining experience, and restaurants must adapt to the new range of options and conveniences that consumers have come to expect.
The research reported, entitled The New World of Consumer Behavior: Restaurants 2022, was conducted by Near, a global SaaS leader in privacy-led data intelligence on people, places, and products. The report highlights significant shifts in consumer behavior from the onset of the pandemic to today. The report provides an outlook for the future of restaurant dining and outlines how restaurants can best respond to these consumer shifts.
According to a company press statement, diners were surveyed across generational lines in order to discover dining habits, preferences, and loyalties. The survey results are combined with Near’s privacy-led human movement data—compliant-collected location data from mobile phones– to get a unique glimpse into dining patterns both at a macro level and also for specific regions and geographies. This includes identifying who today’s diners are, where they eat, how often, and how far they’re willing to travel. The report explores themes including whether people are eating out again or not, top priorities for restaurants, trends to watch, loyalty programs, as well the lifeline for countless restaurants for the past couple of years– takeout and delivery.
Key findings from the report include that 46% of people surveyed say outdoor dining is nice to have, and 7% say it’s essential; meanwhile, 57% of people say takeout or delivery is nice to have, while only 8% say it’s essential.
Key findings on technology-related consumer preferences around the dining experience include:
- 72% of diners enjoy the traditional waiter experience, compared to just 17% enjoying QR code ordering and 18% for kiosk ordering.
- Half of Gen Z and Millennial diners said they’re more likely to eat at a restaurant if it’s on a delivery app compared to just 13% of respondents over the age of 45.
- 35% of respondents said they plan to dine at restaurants more often when the pandemic is over.
- 53% plan to practice the same habit of dining out, and 6% are unsure.
This survey was conducted between February 24-27, 2022 with a total of 508 respondents in the United States, census-weighted by age, gender, income, and region. Additionally, Near studied pulled human movement data for restaurant locations in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco/Oakland between June 1, 2021 – May 31, 2022. Reports used included Near Pinnacle’s Estimated Visits, Time Spent, Visitor Home and Work Locations Insights, as well as Near’s Geosocial Affinity, Estimated Visitors, and Cross-Visitation Reports.
Download the full report here (registration required).