On March 15, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines for mass gatherings and large events. Such gatherings included conferences, sporting events, and festivals.
Restaurants also took the advice outlined by the CDC into careful consideration. Some of these locations made changes to their services, which included new offers of takeout and delivery options.
According to data from OpenTable, the change in restaurant reservations within the U.S. between March 8 and 15 increased from -2% to -48%. On March 21, it reached -100%.
CivicScience’s research had findings that supported this in terms of the decline of dining out. During the week of March 1, 18% of individuals within the U.S. said they dined out less due to COVID-19. This percentage increased to 35% during the week of March 8. By the third week, 63% of U.S. adults were dining out less.
The research noted a correlation between the decrease of visiting restaurants and the increase of online grocery shopping. CivicScience found that between the weeks of March 8 and 15, more individuals were shopping for their groceries online. The increase went from 22% to 29%.
Between the weeks of March 1 and 15, it was found that individuals dined at home more compared to eating out. On the week of March 1, 80% of those surveyed ate at home more, while the following week saw an increase to 83%. The week of March 15 was at 89%.
Restaurants responded to the need for social distancing practices and the act of following safety guidelines outlined by health officials through the use of delivery services.
In an announcement made on March 13, DoorDash and Caviar CEO Tony Xu stated that the contact between DoorDash employees and customers would be minimized through a default no-contact delivery option.
“With this update, “Leave it at my door” will be the default drop-off option, and customers will have the choice to select “Hand it to me” if they prefer,” Xu said.
He added that DoorDash employees had been advised to initiate no-contact delivery confirmation procedures with customers through either a phone call or text message.
Meanwhile, Uber Eats released a statement on March 16 about its support for the restaurant industry. In addition to the plan of launching targeted marketing campaigns, Uber Eats waived the delivery fee for over 100,000 independent restaurants across the U.S. and Canada. The goal of this initiative was to help local restaurants receive more delivery orders.
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