Priorities are changing for restaurant customers

COVID-19 has caused a shift in priorities among restaurant goers. In the pandemic era, some qualities matter more than ever, and some are not as important as they used to be.

We surveyed thousands of consumers on their perception of restaurant chains across 37 attributes, like convenience, value, menu, brand image, dining experience, and food quality.

consumer expectations of restaurants are changing


When surveyed on their perception of Limited Service restaurants, consumers gave certain attributes higher ratings in Q2 than in previous quarters: use of technology (like ordering kiosks), caring about the environment, good corporate values, good value for the money, and offering vegetarian options.

And they rated the same restaurants more negatively on other attributes. Good atmosphere, new and exciting items, being conveniently located, good variety of menu items, and offering good beverages.


man-wearing-a-face-mask-putting-food-on-a-thermal-bag-4393667The consumer's relationship to restaurants has changed amid COVID-19.

In recent months, some of the most visible ways a brand could engage with its customers have been remote: initiatives like online ordering and messaging around corporate values. That probably explains why consumers rated restaurants more highly in those attributes in Q2.

Other attributes are less visible to the consumer now, hence the decline in positive ratings. Dine-in restrictions have reduced the importance of things like dining room atmosphere, restaurant location, and beverage selection.


But not all of these attributes are drivers of restaurant performance during COVID.

photo-of-ipad-on-top-of-wooden-table-3734603We recently conducted an analysis that shows you the 7 restaurant attributes that matter most when it comes to your brand's right to win during the pandemic.

This analysis can point you toward the types of initiatives that are most likely to increase sales, while limiting wasted effort on things that don't matter as much anymore.

  • We analyzed 82 brands across the Quick Service + Fast Casual (QS+FC) markets based on a variety of characteristics
  • Broke brands into quadrants based on sales performance during COVID, and identified which characteristics show a pattern related to performance. 

To request a custom Right to Win analysis for your brand, contact us at