With many Americans limiting their restaurant visits until a vaccine was widely available, has their return to in-person dining been smooth? We surveyed those who have regularly resumed dining out in the past four months to learn more about their recent restaurant experiences and tipping behaviors.

Among those who have dined at a full service restaurant at least once a month since early April, 71% view their dining experiences as “about the same as pre-pandemic, with the remainder divided between finding it better than pre-pandemic and perceiving it as worse. The safety protocols are generally applauded, in fact our consumer insights with 72% consumers agree that the restaurants near them have done a good job of maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols.

When it comes to service and staffing, eight-in-ten agree that restaurants have been short staffed in recent months. That said, 70% concur that they’re “more appreciative of restaurant workers now than I’ve ever been.”

Does absence from restaurants make the heart grow fonder? Over half also feel that dining at a restaurant feels more special than it did pre-pandemic (55%). 

Half also indicate that they put more thought into tipping than pre-pandemic. Full service restaurants are most likely to see increased tips from diners; 34% indicate that over the past four months they tend to tip higher percentages than pre-pandemic when dining in person. 

Looking to gain feedback from diners shortly after exiting a specific restaurant? Learn more about our ability to obtain in-the-moment insights from consumers on the go!

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Bess Devenow

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