Nearly 9 out of 10 consumers now order delivery from restaurants, a significant increase since the pandemic started, according to a new study conducted by Zagat.

Zagat set out to “gain insight into the mindsets and behaviors of consumers as they pertain to dining during the crisis—and to measure the possible impact of these behaviors on the future of restaurants.” It focused on respondents who are “passionate about dining” and collected 6,775 responses.

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Not surprisingly, it found that eating at home has become a much bigger part of consumers’ lives since the pandemic. Restaurant delivery has continued to grow, with 88 percent of consumers now ordering it, a 19-percent increase over the previous figure of 69 percent before the pandemic.

One in two respondents said they are ordering delivery or takeout once a week, and the average is twice a week. Fifty-seven percent cited concerns about health and safety as to why they prefer delivery and carryout.

The survey also found that diners remain wary about eating out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as more restaurants reopen dining services around the country, two out of three diners said they plan to wait more than a week before giving it a shot. Of those who plan to wait, 93 percent said they will wait more than three weeks.

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Three in four diners said health and safety concerns are the biggest deterrent to eating out in a restaurant. What will make them feel better about eating at your place? Outdoor seating and reduced indoor seating capacity are most likely to boost their comfort level. And 83 percent of those who said they’re not immediately comfortable with returning to restaurants said they would feel more comfortable with social distancing measures in place and staff members wearing masks.

But take heart, restaurateurs: Your customers really do miss you. The Zagat survey found that 57 percent of respondents miss their favorite neighborhood dining spot and 33 percent miss their favorite fine-dining restaurant.

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