US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

COVID-19 Pandemic & US Dining Habits: What’s Next for the Buffet?

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters into its fifth month in the US, the disease is continuing to change society in ways few would have imagined, with perhaps some of the most substantial changes occurring in how we eat.

Dining out – one of the most cherished of US customs – has been radically affected as thousands of restaurants have closed, switched to takeout only, or have reconfigured their dining rooms.

Even as restaurants have begun to reopen, a perennial favorite – the buffet – remains closed, with the prospect of reopening as dim as ever. Even if they do reopen, buffets will see changes, such as:

  • limiting the number of people in line
  • installing more plastic shields and other protective products
  • increasing use of single-serve utensils (such as in serving dishes) to minimize risk of contamination
  • reducing the number of dining choices for consumers
  • a shift from self-serve to staff placing food selections on the plates
  • switching to conventional dining service, in which servers bringing plates of food to diners at their tables

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including new reports on Global Foodservice and Global Foodservice Single-Use Products. Additional information is also available in food reports available from The Freedonia Group’s sister publisher Packaged Facts, including Food Carryout & Delivery, Food Carryout & Delivery: Special COVID-19 Consumer Insights, and Food Market Outlook 2020: Home Cooking & Grocery Shopping in the Age of Coronavirus. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence

  Covid-19      Food & Beverage