What you need to know

The highly competitive restaurant industry relies on marketing strategies to drive sales by differentiating its brands, attracting new patrons, encouraging loyalty among existing consumers, and communicating innovation and operational changes. The challenge for industry players is that consumer needs and interests are so varied, many traditional marketing strategies have become less effective. Consumers increasingly expect personalized communications based on their own dining habits, yet they exhibit trepidation about giving up privacy in exchange. Adding to an already challenging environment, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will leave lasting marks on the restaurant industry and immediate marketing strategies must therefore balance information and empathy without coming off as inauthentic or trite. Longer term strategies will need to overcome price sensitivities and changing perceptions toward safety/sanitation expectations, and tout technology and procurement methods.

Key issues covered in this report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the foodservice market

  • How the market will fare in the post-COVID-19 slowdown

  • In a slowing economy, how marketers can incentivize guest traffic

  • How marketers can work to control word-of-mouth marketing

This Report was written April 14 – June 8, 2020.


This Report examines consumer attitudes, behaviors and trends toward restaurant marketing strategies. FSRs (full-service restaurants) and LSRs (limited-service restaurants) are included in the scope of this discussion, including all procurement methods (eg dine-in, takeout, delivery).

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