CivicScience | Americans Steadily Return to the Dine-In Experience

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Americans Steadily Return to the Dine-In Experience

Image Credit: Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Throughout the spring, takeout and delivery held major appeal for Americans who were self-quarantined at home. But as fall looms on the horizon, have inclinations changed? The short answer is yes: the percentage of U.S. adults who have ordered takeout or delivery has dropped from 42% last month to 39%. 

While delivery is on the decline, dining-in is on an increase. As the data show, 24% of U.S. adults report  eating in a restaurant in the last several weeks.

And that trend looks to only be increasing. Data collected between August 31 and September 14 show 22% of U.S. adults plan to dine in at a restaurant. This is up 5 percentage points from last month. All of this to say, that almost a quarter of respondents are eager to get back into restaurants. 

For the past year, going out to eat or ordering delivery once a week has been the most common response from U.S. adults when asked, “How often do you go out to eat dinner or order takeout?” Then in April, those saying “rarely or never” jumped to 34% — a 21% increase in just one month’s time. 

However, since July, the once a week responders have been on an increase, suggesting a steady return to dining in.

Of those who are eating food from restaurants, 25% are eating inside with social distancing and masks while 40% are still ordering only takeout or delivery. 

Eating in a restaurant is also strongly correlated to the impact of COVID-19 on job experience. Those who are working as usual are the most likely to dine in. 

As the U.S. looks to the immediate future of eating out, the act of sitting down in a restaurant could become much more common, as Americans continue to establish their new meal-time normal. 

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