New Normal: Diner Expectations & Trends

What are guests and diners expecting post COVID-19?

By Guest Author on 23 November 2020

It is no secret that the professional foodservice industry has heavily been impacted by Covid-19. The ban on food delivery lifted in some markets, whereas others are reopening restaurants...respecting government guidelines of course! No matter the status, reopening will look different with specific guests and diner expectations.

A recent study across 
12 countries highlights the main guest and diner expectations post Covid-19. Get to grips with these now to ensure satisfied customers and diners!

How to get started, no matter if you're delivering or expecting diners

Ensure general cleanliness and extreme hygiene practices: One of the most important requests from consumers to gain trust in hygiene standards is the general cleanliness of restaurants, both Front, and Back of House. To reassure diners on safety practices, consumers want to have easy access to hand sanitizers in restaurants, either directly on the table or in an allocated area of the restaurant.

Wear protective clothing: Particularly important in Back-of-House, over a quarter of people, say staff wearing protective clothing is the most important factor in being able to trust the hygiene of the kitchen.

Communicate hygiene practices: In addition to wearing protective clothing and ensuring overall cleanliness, 49% of diners would like to see more information about hygiene practices in Menus. Having visibility of the kitchen is one of the top factors in enabling people to trust the hygiene standards of it so why not open your kitchen up?

Food Delivery Guest Expectations

Food Delivery, which 45% of consumers use, seems to remain a need of consumers with almost all of them interested in continuing it. Offering delivery is also key - 8/10 occasions of ordered-in food are delivered.

To follow are some emerging Food Delivery trends that will help you make the most out of this consumer trend.

1. Lunch Delivery

6/10 takeaways and deliveries are ordered for dinner. However, 3/10 are for lunch, so balancing menus with options suitable for either meal can help win more occasions.

2. Family Meals

Most ordered-in occasions are for 3, 4, or 5 people (74% of occasions), so there is an opportunity for venues to promote family meal deals to attract more consumers to choose them.


3. Taste Matters

Taste is the key driver for re-ordering. 

4. Missed Favourites

Consumers miss dishes offered by chains the most, therefore, some top-of-the-list dishes to add to your delivery menu include Pizza, Burgers, Fried Chicken, Coffee, Sushi, and Ice Cream.

Eating Out Guest Expectations

Even though almost all (73%) diners miss eating out, currently 35% of consumers feel they will eat out less in the future mostly due to their concerns about coronavirus. Guests will need lots of reassurance about the safety of venues with venues encouraging return visits. In addition to this, you can find expectations diners have for when eating out below:

1. Hygiene Visibility

Restaurants need to be visibly clean & tidy and staff wearing protective masks and gloves are the most likely measures to encourage diners to return to eating out.

2. Social Gatherings

Since Social gathering is the primary motivation for diners to return is, restaurants need to prepare for group gatherings (6/10 plan outing for 4+ ppl). 

3. Flexible Menu's

Restaurants need to be flexible to facilitate quick changes to layout and Menu’s as diner expectations evolve. 

4. Spaced Out

Social gatherings need to be balanced against restrictions and diners’ requirements for social distancing (45% want spacing between tables in order to feel comfortable eating out). 


Article Reproduced with Permission from Unilever Food Solutions


®UFS Diner Track | Out of Home Recovery | Streetbees | April 25th to May 12th

®Ipsos | Essential Report May 28th to 31st

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