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.
LOCAL BUSINESS LISTINGS
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.
The retail industry saw a .15 decrease in overall star rating from March to April. Compared to other industries, this decrease is not as severe. As retailers reopen, we’ve seen their star rating rise by .05, only one-third of the rating decrease caused by the pandemic.
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.
The retail industry is one of the few industries that were able to increase their response rate during the pandemic, rising by almost 10% in April. Their ability to keep responding to reviews during this time may have helped to prevent their star rating from dropping below a 4.0 during the pandemic.
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.
Stay tuned for detailed information on…
In this analysis, we examine data from January through May 2019 and 2020 to identify and measure the impact of the pandemic. The sample size of the analysis is 122,193 locations from multi-location brands in the US and Canada, that are currently managed within our Reputation Management platform.
In this report, we analyzed brands from various industries including retail, healthcare, financial services, local services, real estate, multi-family, hospitality, food services, automotive, and several other smaller industries. Beyond our analysis for all industries, we dove deeper into the following four industries:
Food Services – 27% of locations
Healthcare – 6% of locations
Retail – 12% of locations
Local Services – 3% of locations
Not all verticals revealed trends related to COVID, so in this report, we’ll focus on the verticals that reveal discrepancies from pre-COVID norms. Automotive (30% of locations) and multi-family (13% of locations) are not included because of this reason.
Gathering The Data:
Review insights are compiled from Google, Yelp, and Facebook publishers only.
Listings and GMB insights compiled from our Reputation Management Local Listing customers (32% of all locations).