LAST UPDATE: NOV. 24, 2021

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: Alyssa Meyers

 

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 Flatlines Ahead of Thanksgiving: 67% of U.S. adults said they feel comfortable going out to eat at a restaurant as of a Nov. 18-21 survey, the same share who said so last week. That’s down 3 percentage points from late October, when it roughly matched a record high in comfort with the activity during the pandemic.
  • Comfort Dining Indoors Falls Through November, While Comfort Dining Outdoors Holds Steady: The share of adults who said they feel OK eating inside at a restaurant dropped 1 point from 65% to 64% this week, widening the difference in opinion between comfort dining inside and outside from 9 points to 10 points, as comfort with dining indoors remained unchanged at 74%. Comfort dining indoors is down 3 points from early November, but comfort dining outdoors has remained the same during that time.

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 roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

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 roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

How Americans Are Dining
Adults were asked how often they do the following activities right now:
Survey conducted Nov. 18-21, 2021, among 2,200 U.S. adults with a margin of error of +/-2%.

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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