The following data takes a look at how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the food services industry. The food service industry faced some of the biggest loses caused  by the pandemic losing an estimated $120 billion between March and May, according to the National Restaurant Association. The data below analyzes reputation’s role on the food service industry during this crisis.


The food services industry saw a rapid decrease in foot traffic as represented by almost 50% less driving direction requests from March to April. During this same time,  phone calls and website visits quickly increased at roughly the same rate as many restaurants transitioned to take-out and delivery options. By May, many businesses had reopened but many diners who are not yet comfortable with dine-in options are continuing to order food to-go as shown by the steady rate of phone calls and website visits through May.


The food services industry experienced an 88.3% drop in reviews from February to April, marking the largest drop in review volume by any industry during the pandemic. Fortunately, as many businesses start reopening, food brands are earning back reviews at a rapid rate increasing by 124.79% month over month from April to May.

Similarly to the review volume,  the food service industry experienced the largest drop in review rating, dropping over half a star. Considering the average fluctuation in star rating was between .16 stars throughout all of 2019, a .51 drop in star rating in a single month is unprecedented. May’s increase of .28 suggests a slow road to recovery for the food industry’s online reputation.

For the most part, the food industry was able to hold the response rate steady during the crisis. As these brands look to rebuild their star rating, responding to reviews can help encourage more positive reviews from customers. Increasing the response rate of the industry as a whole is essential to growing and maintaining a high star rating, today’s consumers expect 100% of reviews to be responded to within 24 hours.

Negative customer sentiment towards the food service industry peaked at 20.53% during the month of May. This slow incline in negative sentiment suggests that consumers are getting less and less forgiving when it comes to customer service during the pandemic. Much of this frustration came from customers sharing their poor experience with new omnichannel services. Delivery services, curbside pickup, mobile ordering, and more, were all frequent negative topics within reviews.


The food services industry faces a long road to reopening. Our data is not only suggesting a slow return to dining-in but also a slow return to a star rating over 4.1. Many customers are still concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and places like restaurants and bars appear to be associated with many community outbreaks. This is why restaurants have some of the strictest safety measures in place. Food service brands looking to make a speedy recovery from the pandemic need to ensure their new customer experience from safety policies to omnichannel options are all communicated clearly to the customer.



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