Skip to content

All articles

Diner Survey Results: Insights into COVID Impact on Restaurants in 2021

Cover Image for Pie chart of half of people preferring contactless ordering and half prefer ordering at the restaurant
By Ryne Estwing

In May, we surveyed the most active Tock diners and received a statistically relevant sample of 16,757 responses from around the country. Our objective was to help restaurants, wineries, and bars prepare as states begin to loosen restrictions. We hope you can use this data to make informed decisions when it comes to reopening your doors.

Let’s start with the good news. 73.3% of respondents plan to dine out shortly after restaurants reopen.

Once restaurants are allowed to reopen are you planning to dine out?


People that want to dine out, will, however, need separation and social distancing measures to feel safe. No surprise here.

The bad news is that nearly 27% of the most frequent diners do not plan on returning anytime soon. This is certainly alarming, and restaurants will need to clearly and consistently communicate safety standards and protocols to win these uncertain consumers back.

As restaurants reopen, would you prefer to order and pay ahead on your own device?

Pie chart of equal parts "Yes, I would order and prepay for my meal before dining at a restaurant" and "No, I would prefer to order and pay for my meal at the restaurant"

Contactless ordering and prepayment are emerging as new trends. Just over 50% of respondents want to be able to pay in advance for their meal when they make a reservation. This streamlines the kitchen, eliminates unnecessary interaction with staff, turns tables faster, and most importantly, reduces no-shows rates.

It will be more important than ever to know customer preferences and hospitality cues. Tock easily facilitates tracking diner behavior and spend through existing, easy-to-use features.

How many times a week have you been ordering pickup/delivery during Covid-19?

Pie chart - 22.57% - Fewer than 1, 61.05% - 1-2 times a week, 13.97% - 3-4 times a week, 2.42% - 5+ time a week

Elevated, controlled takeout and delivery are here to stay as part of the “new norm” and will be necessary to supplement revenue, even for upscale restaurants. Over 75% of respondents have been ordering pickup/delivery 1-5+ times per week during the pandemic. 72% of these same respondents say they will continue to order takeout even as restaurants open.

To Go is going to be a necessary bridge for restaurants to cover their costs as they are allowed to partially open their dining rooms. A restaurant at 50% capacity will not be able to cover the expenses of payroll, rent, and food/beverage.

As restaurants slowly reopen, will you continue pickup/delivery if your favorite spots still offer?

Pie chart: 71.67% - Yes, same as now, 25.33% - Yes, but less than now, 3% - No, I will not order pickup/delivery

Finally, we asked diners to simply share their thoughts, hopes, and ideas for restaurants, and we received thousands of passionate and empathetic responses. It was apparent that these customers view their favorite restaurants as cornerstones of their communities.

Covid-19 Word Cloud

What we found from these highly engaged diners is that they are looking for more:

  • Meal kits/family meals
  • Grocery, pantry items, and CSA-style boxes
  • Cocktail kits and curated wine packages
  • Contactless curbside pickup and delivery options

Far from being ‘done with To Go’ as restaurants reopen, the thing that consumers want the most are unique new offerings from their favorite local places. Dine in and carryout will exist side-by-side permanently, just in more creative ways.

All of these requests, regulatory requirements, To Go operations, and operational flexibility have been fully built and integrated into Tock—a single platform with single-point-of-truth operational clarity and analytical reporting.

It’s called Tock 20 and it’s available today to get restaurants, wineries, and the hospitality businesses through this crisis and on to a stable and thriving future. We pledge to serve the industry and its workforce with the same care and compassion that they share with millions of people every day.

Learn more about Tock 20

inbox icon

Resources to run a
better business, delivered to your inbox.

More Stories

Business Type

© 2024 Squarespace, Inc.

Explore Tock ®