LAST UPDATE: JAN 12, 2022

Tracking the Return to Normal: Dining

Morning Consult is tracking how safe Americans feel dining out at restaurants in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
By: Sarah Shevenock

 

This tracker is part of a series from Morning Consult gauging when consumers will return to normal activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more and sign up for alerts.

The restaurant industry, like many others, was hit hard when states across the country first went into lockdowns, and businesses had to rely solely on takeout and delivery to stay afloat. Restaurants have since been able to reopen their dining rooms to various degrees, and though it may take time for the industry to fully recover, Americans are missing the pre-pandemic dining experience. Since Morning Consult began tracking comfort levels in spring 2020, Americans have consistently said the activity they are more comfortable with is dining out.

Morning Consult is tracking pent-up demand and excitement for many of the activities listed on this page. Bookmark this page for weekly updates of these figures, and read our deep dive on which industries will see a post-pandemic boom in consumer demand.

KEY TRENDS

  • Americans’ Comfort With Dining Out Falls: As omicron cases continue to surge, 61% of U.S. adults said they feel comfortable going out to eat at a restaurant, down 3 percentage points from the previous week and down 9 points since an Oct. 30 survey.
  • Comfort With Indoor Dining Continues to Fall as Omicron Surges: 58% of Americans said they feel comfortable going to an indoor restaurant, a 2-point downtick from last week and the first time that share has fallen below 60% since May 8. Respondents’ comfort level had ranged between 62% and 67% since the end of September. The public’s comfort with dining outdoors was 68% as of the latest poll, a decrease of 4 points from last week.

Comfort Dining Out at Restaurants
The share of respondents who said they feel comfortable going to a restaurant or cafe right now
Weekly surveys are conducted among a representative sample of roughly 2,200 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Comfort Dining Outdoors v. Indoors
The share of respondents who said they feel comfortable going to an indoor vs. outdoor restaurant or cafe right now
Weekly surveys are conducted among a representative sample of roughly 2,200 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

How Americans Are Dining
Adults were asked how often they do the following activities right now:
Survey conducted Jan. 6, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,201 U.S. adults with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

TRACKING THE RETURN TO NORMAL

When will things return to normal and what will our new normal look like? It’s a question that business, economic and government leaders are grappling with as more and more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

To help answer this complicated question, Morning Consult is tracking how consumer attitudes are shifting across a wide range of categories, from travel to entertainment to dining, to gain greater insight into not only when consumers will be ready to return to their normal activities, but how their habits will be forever changed. We’ll be updating these pages every week with new data and analyses. Sign up for alerts below.

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