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Datassential report analyzes the road ahead for business dining

A detailed report incorporating survey results from 502 operators in the business dining market found challenges based on customer counts and safety concerns combined with opportunities in areas like delivery and onsite grocery stores.

A new report from the Datassential research firm on the impact of COVID-19 on business & industry dining operators finds a mixed bag—less stay-at-home limits than commercial restaurants but more fallout from at-home restrictions and an economic downturn.

“As both companies and employees get accustomed to work-from-home policies, it is likely that the number of workers who return to the office will be lower for the foreseeable future (regardless of restrictions),” the report’s intro states. “What’s more, a recession means that companies may have furloughed or laid off workers due to COVID-19, which will also mean real reductions in patrons for B&I.”

The study is based on a survey of 502 operators, including 43 B&I decision-makers, conducted April 30-May 5, along with secondary research. It found a handful (6%) of operators still running at full (including dine-in) service and a little over a quarter (28%) completely shut down for the time being. The rest offer some combination of takeout and delivery.

Unsurprisingly, revenues have taken a massive hit, with nearly half of the surveyed operators (48%) reporting sales down 100%, that is, to zero. Furthermore, while nearly 70% of the surveyed operators plan to reopen onsite dining either as soon as government restrictions are lifted (43%) or within a few weeks of that (26%), the reality is that they will be subject to the reopening policies of the individual businesses they serve, “so even if [government] restrictions are lifted, individual companies may have their own policies that keep workers home longer such as phased in time on-site.”

Here are other major takeaways from the study.

TAGS: Coronavirus
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