It has been a long time since many United States consumers stepped foot into restaurant dining rooms, but many are eager to get back as the pandemic abates and vaccination rates pick up. One recent survey found that almost three-fourths of Americans were ready to dine in again, and almost half said they felt comfortable being seated for in-person service.
The message gleaned from the research is loud and clear: Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) must once again be ready to support on-site dining. This is not to say that consumers are completely reverting to their old ways, however. The same survey revealed that many of the digital-first ordering habits they have developed over the past 16 months will follow them back into restaurants. Seventy-three percent of them intend to use less cash in the future, and 49 percent want to use mobile tools to reserve tables, place their orders and pay for their food.
PYMNTS’ recent Delivering On Restaurant Rewards found that 92 percent of vaccinated restaurant customers who shifted to ordering online during the pandemic planned to continue doing so even after it had passed. Just 8 percent intended to return fully to their previous ordering habits. Digital transformation appears to have permanently altered consumers’ expectations for both in-person and digital food ordering experiences. This means that restaurants must offer the technologies, loyalty programs and other features that allow consumers to order, pay and receive the personalization they crave across all channels.
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