Return to Dining: An Exclusive Report

Understanding Customers Attitudes Towards Dining in at Restaurants

Covid-19: Impact & Future

This report by The StratonHunter Group focuses on Ontario full service restaurant diners and attitudes and expectations with regard to returning restaurant dining rooms. It includes primary research that answers key questions about which diners are most likely to be first to return to dining rooms, what meals they intend to purchase, what will be the key dining occasions, and what safety measures resonate strongest.  Results are segmented by demographics, top restaurant brands, and diners’ intention to visit restaurants.

Guide your recovery strategy with consumer facts and foodservice expertise.


  • Executive Summary
  • Questions Answered . . .
    • When is “Too Soon” to get back to dining? How does this vary by gender? People with children?
    • Which FSR restauant brand patrons are most eager to dine at restaurants again?
    • How many FSR restaurant patrons will continue to work from home?
    • What factors are preventing diners from returning to dining?
    • Which meals/dayparts will be the first visits?
    • What will be the first eating occasions?
    • Which part of the restaurant will be patrons choose?  Booths? Bar? Patio? Table?
    • What restaurant programs would encourage choice of one restaurant over another?
    • What CUSTOMER POLICY measures do patrons feel are most important in ensuring saftey while dining?
    • What RESTAURANT OPERATIONAL POLICY measures do patrons feel are most important in ensuring saftey while dining?

"Reconnecting with Friends" will be key when returning to restaurants.

Survey respondents were segmented by those who indicated they Maybe would dine at restaurants immediately when possible, would dine Right Away, and those who felt there was No Way they would.

Focusing on the “Maybe” group will be key to driving incremental traffic.  This group indicated that “Meeting With Friends” was a top priority.  Consider a “It’s Time To Re-Unite” type messaging to appeal to this segment.

“Family Meal” scored highly among those that intend to dine “Right Away”.  Consider promoting a Family Night to capture these visits during a weeknight, and ideally entice them back with their friends or special somebody on the weekend.

These insights and more in the FULL REPORT.

Report Authors

This report has been authored by a hand-picked panel of industry experts.  Each individual brings decades of industry experience and a unique perspective on how this pandemic affects foodservice, and what actions can be taken to improve results.

Robert Carter Managing Partner, The StratonHunter Group
Industry lead and advocate. Former Executive Director of Foodservice at NPD Canada.
Rob Liver VP Business Intelligence, The StratonHunter Group
Former Executive Director, Product Management for Canada & Mexico at The NPD Group.