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North American COVID-19 Consumer Habits Survey Reveals Heightened Expectations Around Quality And Signals The Need For Permanent Change Within Food Service

Intouch Insight, a leading provider in Customer Experience Management software and services, released a follow-up study on the changes in how consumers are interacting with restaurants and food establishments due to COVID-19.

Intouch Insight, a leading provider in Customer Experience Management software and services, released a follow-up study on the changes in how consumers are interacting with restaurants and food establishments due to COVID-19.

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Since the original study conducted in May 2020, a shift in consumer needs has been observed resulting in increased importance around food quality and frictionless experiences. Cleanliness – the number one factor rated by consumers in May – remains important but slips from the number one spot.

“Trends observed in the spring around shifts to online ordering and curb-side pick-up continue to be expected by consumers, and businesses need to ensure these services are part of their ongoing operations,” says Cameron Watt, President and CEO of Intouch Insight. “It will be vital for restaurants to continue listening to their customers in order to understand how to adapt their business models going forward. Regardless of when and how business returns to normal in a post-COVID world, new habits adopted by consumers are likely here to stay.”

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Key findings from the study:

  • When making the decision to visit a restaurant or order prepared food, 90% of October respondents rated quality of food as extremely important, compared to 49% in May.
  • Online ordering capabilities when ordering prepared food was rated as extremely important by 51% of consumers in October, compared to just 22% in May.
  • Consumers continue to avoid the use of self-serve options like coffee bars, self-serve condiments and self-dispensed drinks, with 60% survey respondents reporting opting for crew-service options when purchasing coffee, and 63% for prepared food.

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