COVID-19 consumer survey finds 47% of people will visit restaurants ‘as soon as they reopen’

States across the U.S. are beginning to reopen parts of their economies, and a surprising number of consumers are willing to visit restaurants as soon as they reopen, according to a new survey by Piper Sandler.

The firm released part two of its COVID-19 consumer survey and found that approximately 47% of respondents are likely to go to restaurants as soon as they reopen. However, that figure is down from 60% of respondents in Piper’s April survey.

Piper’s models are synced to a July opening and the online survey was conducted May 11 and 12 and gathered responses from roughly 420 respondents. The average age of survey participants was 44 with an average household income of $78,000. About 90% of respondents were abiding by shelter-in-place orders.

When participants were asked “How likely are you to go to a restaurant to eat within the next 2 weeks? (1 = very unlikely, 10 = very likely),” the average responses yielded a 4.1 out of 10, up from 3.8 in April.

Even as nearly half of survey respondents indicated that they were likely to visit restaurants as soon as they reopened, 63% said that they will be more sensitive to eating in a crowded restaurant, which is up from 62% in April’s survey.

Men are pictured at a Waffle House, one of few corporate restaurant chain reopened for in-house dining after a shutdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Madison, Georgia, U.S., April 27, 2020. REUTERS/Maranie Staab

According to the NPD group, U.S. restaurant chain transaction continued to improve for the fourth consecutive week in the week ending May 10 as more states reopened. The market research firm reported that total restaurant customer transactions were down 23% compared to a 26% decline the prior week.

Even as most dining rooms in restaurants were forced to closed, many of them were able to provide takeout, delivery or drive-thru options in the interim. Approximately 50% of Piper’s survey respondents said that they were currently visiting restaurants for drive-through or pickup. Food delivery was happening an average of 2.6 times per week versus 2.4 times prior through both direct and indirect delivery channels.

Pizza, hamburgers, and Mexican food were among the most popular delivery items during COVID-19.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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