Survey Measures Consumer Confidence About Dining Out


TORONTO —, an online and mobile app designed to empower consumers to avoid COVID-19 exposure, recently conducted a survey of 1,000 Canadians to uncover and address their greatest concerns while dining out.

According to the key findings, Canadians feel significantly safer eating at independent restaurants (35.5 per cent) compared to fast-food (23 per cent) or chain restaurants (11.1 per cent).

Other findings include:
• Canadians feel safer on patios (21.7 per cent) than in indoor dining-rooms (10.2 per cent)
• More than half of Canadians (56.8 per cent) are still ‘only eating at home’
• Men really want buffets back. A whopping 73.4 per cent of respondents who said they felt the safest eating at a buffet during COVID-19 were men compared to only 26.6 per cent of women
• Women are considerably more concerned about lineups (56.1 per cent) and utensils (55.8 per cent) as touchpoints when eating out than men, which are at 43.9 per cent (lineups) and 44.2 per cent (utensils)
• Men are the most concerned about ‘exposure to other patrons’ at 58.3 per cent, compared to 41.7 per cent of women

The survey found Canadians have real reservations about restaurants. Asked to identify their biggest barriers to eating out right now, nearly half (45.7 per cent) said ‘potentially catching COVID-19.’ Exposure to other patrons’ (21.7 per cent), ‘unable to afford eating out now’ (16.5 per cent) and long lineups with other patrons (12 per cent) were their top additional concerns.

Canadians are worried about touchpoints
Asked what touchpoints concern them the most while dining out, 32.2-per-cent said exposure to other patrons, followed by bathrooms (22 per cent), lineups (12.6 per cent), exposure to wait staff (10.4 per cent), the food itself (9.6 per cent) and utensils (9.3 per cent).

Key Ontario Findings:
• Ontario men seem to really be missing buffets: 70.2 per cent of the Ontario respondents that picked buffet as the safest place to eat during COVID-19 were men, compared to only 28.2 per cent of women
• Ontario men (65.2 per cent) and women (34.8 per cent) are greatly divided on eating in at a restaurant dining-room
• Ontario men (49.7 per cent) and women (50.3 per cent) are surprisingly equal in their choice to ‘only eat at home’
• Ontario men (60.4 per cent) are much more in favour of patio dining than women (39.6 per cent)

Key Alberta Findings:
• Albertan women may want to avoid eating out altogether, with 63.5 per cent saying they would choose to eat out at ‘none’ of the dining options presented compared to 36.5 per cent of men
• Albertan men would feel safe eating at food halls (66.1 per cent) compared to 33.9 per cent of women
• Albertan women (40.7 per cent) trust fast food significantly less than men (59.3 per cent)

Key B.C. Findings:
• B.C. men want to hang out in the food court. Among the B.C. respondents who picked mall food courts as the safest place to dine during COVID-19, 77.1 per cent were men, compared to only 22.9 per cent of women
• 46.1 of British Columbians feel the safest eating at an independent restaurant, second only to Saskatchewan (54.9 per cent)
• B.C. women are a lot more worried about other diners than men. Of respondents who said their biggest barrier to dining out is ‘exposure to other patrons,’ 60.2 per cent were women and 39.8 per cent were men
• B.C. women (60.9 per cent) trust chain restaurants much more than men (39. per cent)

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