Restaurants have been gradually reopening their dining rooms to the public, allowing business to slowly pick back up across the food industry. COVID-19 has prompted new restaurant and consumer needs that food distributors, suppliers, and operators must be prepared to support. From our own research, we’ve made the following findings and predictions to help you plan for success: 

  • As of June 2, 47 states are allowing in-house dining, but with guidelines and capacity limits in many cases. 18 states are limiting restaurant capacity to only accommodate 25-50 percent. 
  • Almost all states are continuing to allow restaurants to sell alcohol through delivery and/or carryout methods, but states will likely start to slowly reverse these policies.  
  • Large full-service restaurant chains are likely to reopen sooner than independent FSRs. 
  • For many diners, stringent cleaning and social distancing policies at restaurants are non-negotiable. Hand sanitizers, thermometers, COVID-19 safety signs, and other non-food items will be in demand to help restaurants uphold health and safety.  
  • Diners want to sit back and relax at restaurants. They are staying longer and spending more money.
  • Operators and restaurants will be on the lookout for speed-scratch items to help them plate faster with limited staff. 
  • Expect more restaurants to offer value and combo meals. 
  • As consumers return to restaurants, they are starting to seek out food they could not easily prepare at home.
  • Delivery services, portion-control items, bottled beverages, and individually-wrapped food will continue to be in high demand. 

More Resources

Stay abreast of how COVID-19 continues to impact the restaurant and food industry. We recommend the following resources:

Datassential COVID-19 reports and webinars

National Restaurant Association re-opening guidance 

National Restaurant Association return-to-work guidelines for foodservice establishments, listed by state

National Restaurant News coronavirus page

Devour by Dot blog

Dot Foods’ COVID-19 Food & Packaging Essentials website 

@DotFoods LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter channels

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