Two thirds of restaurant diners find the experience just as relaxing as pre-lockdown


September 22, 2020


Melanie Fulker

And only a third of them will go less frequently than pre-lockdown.

Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will have to close by 10pm from Thursday, under new nationwide restrictions that form part of the government’s response to the rise in coronavirus cases*.

The restaurant industry is likely to be slightly less impacted than late night bars, for example, but dining out will surely continue to be an essential way people relax and enjoy themselves in these times, if our research is anything to go by.

Startle’s research into the post-lockdown dining experience reveals that two thirds (63.3%) of diners think it is just as relaxing or even more so, compared to pre-lockdown, with only a third (36.7%) disagreeing it is more relaxing now.

Two thirds of those diners who think it is just as relaxing now (64.9%) are regular restaurant customers, see graph 1.

Graph 1

Encouragingly, only a third of them (37.4%) will go less frequently now, compared to pre-lockdown. See graph 2.

With the majority of diners intending to keep eating out as much as before, and with more than two-thirds (71%) of under-45s believing technology can improve the general dining experience**, embracing the combined power of music and technology to shape behaviour is a smart and strategic way to engage your customers, improve customer experience and stand out from the competition at such a crucial time.

Furthermore, nearly two thirds (60.6%) of those who find it more relaxing now are female, while nearly a third (31.9%) of those who feel it is more relaxing now are aged 35-44.

Graph 2

Thoughts from our CEO, Adam Castleton:

"It looks like the tide was turning for the restaurant industry over the summer; with the majority of diners finding the experience relaxing, and the majority of those intending to visit at least as frequently as before lockdown. But faced with new challenges, such as the 10pm curfew, and a renewed push for working from home, it's inevitable that restaurants will again feel the pressure over the coming months. For the restaurants that have delivered great customer experiences in recent weeks, there is hope that this will have earned renewed customer loyalty that will keep customers coming back over the difficult weeks ahead."

This hub is going to be the place to be for consumer research in retail and hospitality, so make sure to bookmark it, follow us on social, write it on a post-it note or whatever it is that you do. You could also sign up and subscribe to our mailing list, which is easy like Sunday morning.

Surveys carried out July and August 2020. Sample sizes (n) >1000 people, UK Nat. Rep. with 95% confidence level & margin of error of +/- 5%.

*The Guardian article: Coronavirus: pubs and restaurants across England to be forced to shut at 10:00pm. 21st September 2020.

** Wi5 Mobile Order & Pay Report, 2020.

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