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News & Press / August 27, 2020

With More than 1 in 3 Americans Looking Forward to Dining Out Again, Restaurants Need to Cater to Varying Needs for Guests to Keep Reservations

New SevenRooms “Restaurant Reckoning: Dynamic Diner” report reveals new expectations for restaurant experiences

NEW YORK – August 27, 2020 – SevenRooms, a data-driven guest experience platform for the hospitality industry, today released its “Restaurant Reckoning: Dynamic Diner” report, which uncovered new diner personas to help operators understand what motivates guests to dine out in this new era of hospitality. According to the data, more than 1 in 3 Americans (38%) said they are looking forward to dining out again over the next three months. However, among those interested in dining out, needs for health, safety and extraordinary personalized experiences vary greatly, which SevenRooms has categorized into four diner personas.

The study, conducted with third-party research firm YouGov, examined Americans’ preferences around dining experiences and revealed four diner personas based on varying characteristics, including the Pick-up Patron, Safety-Savvy Consumer, Tech-Conscious Contactless Diner, and Carefree Guest.

New guest expectations are incredibly crucial for operators to consider, as Americans interested in dining out will only keep their reservations at a new restaurant if certain measures are met, including:

  • More than half want six-foot social distancing and employees wearing face masks enforced (53% and 52%, respectively)
  • Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) want restaurants to enforce all guests wear face masks when moving around the venue or between courses
  • Just over 1 in 5 (21%) want restaurants to perform on-site health screenings

Diner Dynamics
As restaurants continue to tackle challenges sparked by the Coronavirus pandemic, operators must not only ensure their venue(s) are following health and safety guidelines to keep guests comfortable, but also deliver exceptional experiences that result in long-term guest loyalty. The four diner personas identified by SevenRooms data include:

  • The Pick-Up Patron: Not all Americans are ready to venture back out to restaurant dining rooms. More than 1 in 4 (27%) stated they will not feel comfortable dining out until there is a vaccine, with nearly 1 in 4 (23%) saying they will only order for pickup and/or delivery for the rest of 2020. More specifically, up to half of Americans are interested in take-out dining, with:
    • 51% saying they are comfortable ordering for pick-up
    • 43% saying they are comfortable ordering for delivery
  • The Safety-Savvy Consumer: Now, more than ever before, guests have expressed concerns around their physical health when choosing where to dine out, meaning that restaurant layouts and safety features are crucial. In fact, more than 1 in 5 (22%) say a restaurant providing a detailed outline of health and safety protocols would make them more likely to visit or return. The most important safety measures include:
    • More than one-third of Americans (37%) want physical barriers between tables
    • 1 in 3 Americans (33%) want personal table hand sanitizer
    • Nearly 1 in 4 (24%) want their food covered as it is served to them
  • The Tech-Conscious Contactless Diner: In today’s new era of hospitality, technology can not only enable a more seamless experience but also help restaurants deliver contactless experiences. In fact, nearly 1 in 7 Americans (13%) will only dine out at restaurants with contactless dining solutions.  Features most likely to encourage Americans to visit a restaurant include:
    • More than 1 in 5 (22%) want virtual waitlists (e.g. join a waitlist before they arrive so they can be seated immediately)
    • More than 1 in 5 (21%) want restaurant operators to employ contact tracing technology
    • More than 1 in 6 Americans (17%) want QR codes for ordering and paying
  • The Carefree Guest: While many Americans have shifted their dining preferences, there are still many individuals that are eager to dine and drink out with less strict restrictions. For those interested in dining out:
    • Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) are comfortable dining at venues that have indoor seating, compared to the 42% that are comfortable with outdoor seating
    • 1 in 4 (25%) are comfortable dining at restaurants they have never been to before, compared to the 37% that are comfortable dining at restaurants they are familiar with and have been to before
    • More than 1 in 7 (15%) are comfortable visiting other venues, like bars

Leveraging Data to Build Loyalty
As operators look to deliver a dining experience that appeals to guests, taking care and attention to their tech preferences and health and safety requirements, one of the best ways to build strong guest relationships is by utilizing data to personalize dining experiences – whether for take-out or dine in. SevenRooms research found that diners who are comfortable sharing their data with restaurants are happy to do so for certain things, including:

  • Data for a Deal
    • 1 in 2 (50%) of these diners would share data to receive discounted offers or promotions
    • Nearly half of these diners (48%) would share data to receive delivery or pick-up promotions or offers
  • Data for Health
    • Nearly 1 in 2 (45%) would share data for contact tracing efforts (e.g. being notified of potential COVID-19 exposure after a visit)
    • Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) would share data for personalized communication and updates around COVID-19 precautions and processes at the restaurant
  • Data for Personalized Dining 
    • Nearly 1 in 4 (24%) would share data for a more personalized dining experience (i.e. menu tailored to dietary preferences)

“The hospitality industry has been one of the most severely affected industries throughout the pandemic, with operators having to implement a new playbook overnight for how they can stay in business for the long term,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO & Co-Founder at SevenRooms. “As local economies across the country continue to reopen, restaurant operators are navigating the right balance between safety and traditional models for hospitality. Our research has made one thing clear: operators need to be flexible. Whether it’s in regard to outdoor dining, virtual waitlists or contactless order and pay – every guest has different needs. While the four profiles we have identified in this research are not mutually exclusive to each other, they are outlined to provide operators with the knowledge they need to not only remain profitable but deliver experiences that are truly exceptional to all guests.”

The full report is available at sevenmigratedv.wpengine.com.

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Research Methodology
SevenRooms commissioned YouGov PLC – a third party, professional research and consulting organization – to poll the views of 1,237 individuals who agreed to take part. Fieldwork was undertaken online between July 31 – August 3, 2020. The figures have been weighted and are representative off all US adults (aged 18+).

About SevenRooms
SevenRooms is a fully-integrated, data-driven guest experience platform that helps hospitality operators unlock the full revenue potential of their data. From neighborhood restaurants and bars to international, multi-concept hospitality groups, the end-to-end platform enables operators to build direct guest relationships, deliver exceptional experiences, and, ultimately, bring guests back. Founded in 2011 and venture-backed by Amazon, Comcast Ventures and Providence Strategic Growth, SevenRooms has dining, hotel F&B, nightlife and entertainment clients globally, including: Bloomin’ Brands, MGM Resorts International, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Jumeirah Group, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, sbe, LDV Hospitality, Zuma, Altamarea Group, Major Food Group, AELTC, Chase Hospitality Group, D&D London, Corbin & King, Live Nation and Topgolf. The company was recently included in Inc.’s annual list of Best Workplaces for 2020. sevenmigratedv.wpengine.com.

SevenRooms PR Contact
Bianca Esmond
PR & Brand Marketing
E: bianca@sevenrooms.com