Poll Finds 60% of Americans Aren’t Ready to Start Dining Out Again, and it Shows Why Restaurants Being Allowed to Reopen Won’t Prevent Mass Closures

By Irene Jiang | Business Insider

  • Less than half of Americans say they would eat at a restaurant within a month of the coronavirus infection rate flattening, according to a recent Harris Poll shared with Business Insider.
  • The poll, which surveyed over 3,000 Americans between June 26 and 29, found that only 40% of Americans would go out within a month of the infection rate flattening.
  • Over 20% of those surveyed said it would take them longer than six months to dine out.
  • The data indicate that restaurants and governments can’t rely on partial reopenings to keep businesses afloat, and instead have to plan for a recovery hindered by hesitant consumers.

Less than half of Americans say they would go out to dinner within a month of the coronavirus infection rate flattening, according to recent Harris Poll data shared with Business Insider.

The poll, which has been tracking consumer sentiment regarding restaurants for the last 15 weeks, asked respondents how long it would take for them to go out to dinner after the government provides information that the spread of the virus is flattening. In the most recent round of surveys between June 26 and June 29, just over 3,000 people were surveyed. Of those respondents, only 40% said they would go out to dinner within a month of the curve flattening.

20% of survey respondents said they would go out to dinner two to three months after the curve flattened, while 17% said it would take them four to six months to do so. 10% said it would take them seven to 11 months to dine out, while 11% said it would take them at least a year. 2% said they would never feel comfortable dining out again.

For restaurants that rely on dine-in customers to sustain business, this data indicates that reopening for dine-in won’t solve their pandemic-induced financial woes. With over half of survey respondents saying it will take them at least a month to feel comfortable dining out, restaurants and governments should plan accordingly.

According to Yelp’s June 25 economic impact report, over 10,000 restaurants have already closed permanently since March 1. But Yelp suggests that a wide pivot to takeout and delivery models, as well as other alternative revenue streams, has allowed many restaurants to stay open through the pandemic so far.

That’s not to say diners aren’t coming back at all. Data from Placer.ai’s COVID retail impact tracker shows a steady upward trend of foot traffic for chain restaurants since they started reopening in May. However, numbers still aren’t even close to what they were last year, possibly because of capacity restrictions in most locales.

Read the full article at Business Insider.