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Curious About the Post-Covid Diner? SevenRooms Identifies 4 Distinct Diner Personas

The most powerful data-driven, guest-focused experience and venue management platform released their “Restaurant Reckoning: Dynamic Diner” report today.

SevenRooms partnered with third-party research firm YouGov for today’s report. The platform has worked with YouGov several times on hospitality and travel industry reports in recent years, such as “The New Nightlife Report” (August 2019) and “Diners of the Future” (June 2018).

Firmly believing that we’re entering an entirely new era of hospitality, SevenRooms was driven to share their data with the goal of preparing operators for the industry’s new normal.

According to their data, SevenRooms and YouGov found that 38 percent of Americans “are looking forward to dining again over the next three months.” That’s just over a third of Americans, so it’s crucial that operators are ready for increased traffic and to deliver on new guest expectations.

Guest Data

Of course, data is one of the best ways to gain insight into guests and re-engage with them. SevenRooms gathers and provides operators with an incredible amount of data to improve engagement and marketing campaigns.

Interestingly, the “Dynamic Diner” report reveals finds that diners comfortable with sharing their data with restaurants will do so:

  • to enjoy a more personalized experience (24 percent);
  • in exchange for discounts or promotions (50 percent);
  • in exchange for delivery- or pick-up-specific offers or promotions (48 percent);
  • to aid in contact tracing (45 percent);
  • and to receive information regarding Covid-19-specific protocols being implemented by the restaurant (29 percent).

That data and other insights will help operators better serve the four distinct diner personas SevenRooms and YouGov have identified in their “Dynamic Diner” report: the Safety-Savvy Consumer (SSC), the Tech-Conscious Contactless Diner (TCCD), the Carefree Guest (CG), and the Pick-Up Patron (PUP).

“As local economies across the country continue to reopen, restaurant operators are navigating the right balance between safety and traditional models for hospitality,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO and co-founder at SevenRooms. “Our research has made one thing clear: operators need to be flexible. Whether it’s in regard to outdoor dining, virtual waitlists or contactless order and pay—every guest has different needs. While the four profiles we have identified in this research are not mutually exclusive to each other, they are outlined to provide operators with the knowledge they need to not only remain profitable but deliver experiences that are truly exceptional to all guests.”

The 4 Personas

As the name suggests, the Safety-Savvy Consumer is eager to dine out but is also concerned about their health and safety. This guest will select restaurants based on the safety measures implemented and even the layout of the venue. The SSCs are among the 22 percent of Americans who are more likely to visit—and return to—a specific restaurant if the business shares the details of their health and safety protocols.

The SevenRooms and YouGov “Dynamic Diner” report reveals the top three protocols some Americans want to see in place when dining out:

  • 37 percent desire not just social distancing but physical barriers between tables.
  • 33 percent want restaurants to provide them with personal hand sanitizer on the table.
  • 24 percent want their food orders to be covered while it’s served.

If you’re an operator, manager or server, you’re familiar with what the Tech-Conscious Contactless Diner wants from their in-person dining experience: zero contact. We’ve reported on elements of contactless dining previously, such as technology like QR code and AR menus.

The TCCD is part of the 13 percent of Americans who won’t dine at a restaurant that hasn’t implemented contactless dining. They expect:

  • access to virtual waitlists, which allow them to join a waitlist before they arrive at a restaurant (22 percent);
  • a venue to use contact tracing tech (21 percent);
  • the ability to order and pay via QR code (17 percent).

In contrast to the SSC, TCCD and PUP (which I’ll get to in a moment), the Carefree Guest just wants to get back out to restaurants and bars. Getting back to even a semblance of their pre-Covid lives means their expectations are far less restrictive than those of their counterparts.

The CG represents the American diner who is:

  • comfortable dining indoors (29 percent);
  • willing to try new venues rather than stick with those they’ve visited previously (25 percent);
  • comfortable going out to an array of venues, including bars (15 percent).

In comparison, SevenRooms and YouGov data reveals that 42 percent of Americans are more comfortable sitting outside, and 37 percent prefer to visit familiar restaurants they’ve visited before.

Another contrasting persona is the Pick-Up Patron. Unlike the more than one-third of Americans who are eager to dine out at restaurants over the next 90 days, the PUP plans to stick with delivery (43 percent of Americans) and takeout (51 percent). These customers are among the 23 percent of Americans who have said they won’t visit a restaurant for in-person dining for the remainder of this year, and the 23 percent uncomfortable with dining out at a restaurant until a Covid-19 vaccine is available.

To learn more and view the “Dynamic Diner” report in its entirety, please visit SevenRooms.

Methodology: SevenRooms commissioned YouGov PLC—a third-party, professional research and consulting organization—to poll the views of 1,237 individuals who agreed to take part. Fieldwork was undertaken online between July 31 and August 3, 2020. The figures have been weighted and are representative off all US adults (aged 18+).

Photo by Danielle Rice on Unsplash

David Klemt View All

I’ve been studying and writing about the hospitality industry since 2006. Like so many people, I started my journey in this business by working as a host, server and bartender. I was introduced to nightlife in Chicago, learning the ins and outs of nightclubs and after-hours hot spots.

After moving to Las Vegas nearly 20 years ago, I both co-owned a valet company and helped promote the club it serviced. That led to me taking on the role of editor for a Las Vegas hospitality industry publication.

A few short years later, I continued along my journey of hospitality industry reporting. I went from contributing to a major industry outlet to taking on the role of editor and content curator.

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