Don't Worry, Be Hungry: Consumers Hanker for Worry-Free Foodservice

Posted in Trends on September 15, 2020

282_dan-burton-vm-cV-h28SM-unsplashDelivery has always been desirable, if only for its sheer convenience. And now, as the pandemic persists with a far-ranging impact on the industry, it carries the enhanced appeal of combining convenience with safety.

Safety remains a key concern and is likely to become more of a consideration as some states try to reign in a resurgent outbreak and others strive to contain the virus and keep infection rates low. According to the global business management firm AlixPartners, more than two thirds of U.S. consumers surveyed prefer to err on the side of caution and cook and eat at home.1

That said, AlixPartners data reveals an evolving attitude toward restaurants that signals consumers are warming up to the idea of dining out. “Consumers are looking to dine out. It’s not all doom and gloom. They want to go. They need to leave the house, but they want to feel safe,” said Adam Werner, AlixPartners managing director.1

Restaurant spending may be low, but it remains the #1 way consumers would like to spend their dining dollars, and consumer confidence in dining out rose from April to July.1 Slightly more than half of consumers surveyed returned to dining out during that time period, though frequency was low.1

Delivery and Takeout Takeaways

Off-premises continues to serve up a reliable source of revenue, with 57% of consumers surveyed saying they order delivery and takeout at least once a week.1 While delivery drives a lot of buzz, consumers favor pickup as a way to avoid delivery fees and maintain a higher degree of safety.1 And in a sign that consumers might be more receptive to dining out provided safety were assured, 47% said they prefer pickup just to get out of the house.1

The quick service chain Bartaco is leveraging people’s preference for pickup with innovative offers which allow consumers to cook and eat at home, where they feel most comfortable and safe.

With the understanding that many just feel safer staying home, we have worked hard to refine our takeout offerings, including the addition of the family packs,” said Bartaco CEO and founder Scott Lawton.”2 “These kits provide all the ingredients to have a family taco night. It’s a great value and we have found that the tacos are better when you put them together at home. People are loving the margarita kits as well.”2

Lawton says the chain has taken stringent measures to ensure that “hospitality is safety,” including ramping up digital ordering for off- and on-premise business, improving guest-facing communications, making daily wellness checks of staff before they come to work, and boosting sanitation procedures.2


The data company Black Box Intelligence reports that operators are concerned about the short-term prospects of the dine-in business environment.3 But Black Box data aligns with research from AlixPartners regarding safety as the gateway to more on-premise business.3


“People will go to a restaurant if they feel comfortable and they feel safe,” Black Box CEO Kelly Valade said, but she cautioned that consumers will limit their business to off-premise if unconvinced.3 Her firm’s survey data show that operators are stepping up their safety protocols: 97% offer hand sanitizers throughout the restaurant, 96% require masks for all staff, and 86% removed some tables.3


On-premises or off, “you have to deliver on the basic needs right now,” as Valade said.


When it comes to the basics and beyond for brand trust and culinary ingenuity, Mondelēz International Foodservice can help you boost business during the most challenging times. Share your challenges below now and learn how our chefs can help feed your bottom line when you need it most.


1 Jennings, Lisa, “Consumers are warming to dining out, but they want to feel safe, says AlixParners data,” Nation’s Restaurant News, Aug. 14, 2020

2 Ruggless, Ron, “Restaurants brace for a long ride on the coronavirus rollercoaster,” Nation’s Restaurant News, Aug. 13, 2020

3 Lawton, Scott, “Scott Lawton, CEO and founder of Bartaco, on why hospitality is safety, and the introduction of family packs to the menu,” Nation’s Restaurant News, Aug. 14, 2020


Topics in this article

Related Articles

Right Bites: Restaurants Rework Menus for Snack-Happy Market

As small bites replace large meals, restaurant operations adjust menus for all-day snacking. Explore key data behind the latest trends in small plates.

Oh Dough They Didn't! Upstart Pizza Chains Cook Up New Recipes for Success

As a versatile staple, pizza continues to power sales. Lean how fast-casual restaurant chains Pie Five and 7Pie are taking pizza innovation to new levels.

Next Course: 2023 Foodservice Tech Trends

Explore why two foodservice trends--off-premise restaurant formats and artificial intelligence systems--are poised to rise to new heights in 2023.

Hot Sellers: Summer Flavor Forecast Calls for Wave of Appetite-Whetting Trends

Summer sizzles with seasonal staples and trending twists on old favorites. Explore flavor forecasts from Datassential and EatingWell for summer menu ideas.

All About Newstalgia in Desserts

Tweaking familiar dishes to include a new flavor or format could be the menu addition that will pique consumer interest and help increase sales.

No Sustain, No Gain: Foodservice Feeds Bottom Line with Sustainability and Wellness

Sustainability has become a core catalyst for foodservice success. Explore how True Food Kitchen and Mondelēz International exemplify the sustainability trend.

Smaller, Faster, Smarter: Automated Restaurant Formats Feed the Future of Foodservice

Sweetgreen, Chili's and Panera are adopting lean, automated restaurant formats. Learn how automation is transforming the restaurant industry.

Beverages and Desserts Fuel Flavor Inspiration

Inspired by classic beverage elements, operators are creating new dessert menu items — as well as drinks that feature dessert flavors.

Metaverse Measures Up, Major Restaurant Brands Dig In

Top restaurant chains are hungry to tap the promotional potential of the metaverse. Explore Jimmy John's and Pizza Hut's ambitious metaverse initiatives.

Va-Va-Vending: Technology Transforms Vending Machines into 24/7 Restaurants

No longer just a source for prepackaged snacks, vending machines are now purveyors of gourmet-quality meals. Explore two revolutionary vending machines.

Join the Let’s Chat Snacks Community

Be the first to know when we drop new articles, trends and insights, with updates delivered directly to your inbox. Plus, you’ll get an insider perspective on all things foodservice, carefully curated to help you grow your business.