Consumer Trends

How will the COVID-19 crisis change consumer dining behavior?

New data explores how consumers’ eating and shopping habits are likely to change because of the virus.
busy restaurant
Photograph: Shutterstock

The coronavirus crisis is forcing all consumers to adopt new habits surrounding dining at restaurants and eating in general. Poll data released this week shows that those behaviors might have long-lasting impacts for restaurants, even once the current COVID-19 threat has eased.

After the pandemic has passed, consumers expect to be much less reliant on takeout than they are now, according to a survey by AMC Global, a market research firm. Currently, 33% of consumers say they’re getting more takeout than before the pandemic. But just 13% of consumers say they expect to be as reliant on off-premise dining after the threat passes.

“The current pandemic is changing consumer behavior and will continue to have an influence even when the crisis subsides,” AMC Global said in a news release.

Among the poll’s other findings:

  • 45% of consumers say they’re currently eating less fast food than they normally do.
  • 38% of consumers say they will support local businesses more in the future.
  • 32% of those polled plan to make more home-cooked meals after the virus passes.
  • Currently, 33% of consumers are baking more than they typically do.
  • 40% of those surveyed said they plan to focus more on saving and budgeting their money after the coronavirus threat passes.
  • A quarter of those surveyed said they’re currently drinking more than three alcoholic beverages per week, while just 9% say they plan to keep up that pace post-pandemic.


Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


In Red Lobster, a symbol of the challenges with casual dining

The Bottom Line: Consumers have shifted dining toward convenience or occasions, and that has created havoc for full-service restaurant chains. How can these companies get customers back?


Crumbl may be the next frozen yogurt, or the next Krispy Kreme

The Bottom Line: With word that the chain’s unit volumes took a nosedive last year, its future, and that of its operators, depends on what the brand does next.


4 things we learned in a wild week for restaurant tech

Tech Check: If you blinked, you may have missed three funding rounds, two acquisitions, a “never-before-seen” new product and a bold executive poaching. Let’s get caught up.


More from our partners