2022 is shaping up to be as unpredictable as its predecessor—but good data can help you make plans for the year to come and ensure that you’re set up to give diners what they want. For example, did you know that 86% of diners are more likely to return to a restaurant that makes them feel like a regular and they care about being welcomed by name?
Particularly as the Delta and Omicron variants continue to take a toll on restaurants, insights from diners can help you make decisions and know where to focus your efforts. To help restaurants like yours, OpenTable conducted a survey of 972 diners in January 2022—and here’s what they had to say.
Keep calm and dine on—even amid COVID surges
While many diners are still opting for takeaway, don’t give up on your dine-in options just yet. 43% of Australian diners say they’re neither more nor less likely to dine out due to the COVID-19 Delta and Omicron variants. After two years of living with the pandemic, new variants are not the deterrent that they once were to dining out.
Just as important as knowing how many diners you should expect is knowing why they’re choosing to dine out in the first place. Be prepared for diners who are showing up for celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. When you notice guests who are celebrating with you, try to give them something a little extra special like a dessert on the house or a waitstaff serenade (if that’s your thing).
Welcome guests back, the way they want
People are more than eager to get back to dining, making now a prime time to nurture more regulars and create a community of loyal guests— welcome them back with open arms. 86% of diners are more likely to return to a restaurant that makes them feel like a regular. With guest information available on their reservation profile, staff can easily welcome them back by name, notify them about special offers or promotions, and recognise how often they visit.
Your diners also care about convenience and choice, so make sure you include any options you offer during reservations, such as outdoor or bar seating. Plus, recognising seating preferences and applying them to the guest’s next reservation is just one more way to make them feel like a VIP.
Don’t ditch delivery and takeaway just yet
Even though they are coming back to restaurants, diners are still looking for takeaway—people love the convenience and 84% are hoping that restaurants keep up these options long after COVID restrictions are lifted. As you make this a regular part of your operations, ask yourself: Is your online ordering system easy to navigate? Do you let diners order from you directly or do they have to go through a third-party ordering app? Streamlining this process will encourage guests to order from you, and allow your team to process orders efficiently.
It’s always important to understand what your guests are looking for, especially so during these unpredictable times. Prepare for the future by downloading our latest Diner Survey today.
Let your diners help you plan for 2022.
OpenTable surveyed 927 diners in Australia on the OpenTable network between 10 January, 2022 and 18 January, 2022.