OpenTable reveals new research on the nation’s dining habits

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

With restaurants reopening across Tier 1 and Tier 2 regions of England, OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, today reveals new research2 into the nation’s dining habits.

With the festive season in full swing, those surveyed just before the start of Lockdown 2.0 indicated they are looking forward to dining out in December, with 47%2 looking to visit a restaurant to celebrate. Making it a holiday season to remember, nearly 1 in 5 (19%) would like more of a special or unique experience when they dine out. With OpenTable offering a variety of bespoke options, there will be a host of menus and specials to choose from to suit every celebration and taste.

Research from a previous OpenTable study carried out in July3 highlighted that approximately two fifths of the UK (39%) were planning to visit restaurants more often than before the pandemic, as they were keen to make the most of them in case there was a second lockdown. This supports insights found in OpenTable’s State of the Industry data4, revealing that on the day before England’s second lockdown (4th November) the platform saw restaurant reservations increase by a staggering 70% compared to the same day last year.


Further insights from the study carried out in July showed another popular reason for Brits to visit restaurants more often than before the pandemic was wanting to support local businesses (59%), with a further 70% of respondents reporting that they realised how much they missed them while they were closed.

In retrospect, end of year data1 from OpenTable shows that days with the most seated reservations include Valentine’s Day 2020, before lockdown restrictions came into place. More recently, dates including Saturday October 3rd and Saturday October 10th hit the top 10 spots as lockdown restrictions fluctuated. Post COVID trends also include an increase in consumers making reservations 1-7 days in advance, following the uncertainty of restrictions and availability of restaurants.

OpenTable also reveals that British cuisine has had the biggest uptick in popularity year over year, taking the number one spot this year. The top five cuisines in 2020 include British, Italian, Gastro Pub, American and Steak.

The study by OpenTable prior to Lockdown 2.0 also looked at dining habits over the next month and into 2021 more generally. Research revealed that once it’s possible to do so, 27% of Brits planned to visit restaurants as often as they did before the pandemic, with a further quarter of the nation visiting them as often as when they first reopened in July.


Findings also showed that with restaurants having been closed, diners are missing the experience of dining out,  with a 55% showing a greater appreciation for eating out since the first lockdown.

Of those surveyed, the majority revealed they would feel confident dining at a restaurant both indoors (86%) and outdoors (86%) after lockdown lifts. When booking through OpenTable, restaurants can enable a feature allowing diners to choose their favourite seat in the house, whether that’s on a stool at the bar or counter, indoors, or outside at a table – this helps to give visitors the dining experience that they are most comfortable with.

The research also revealed that two fifths of the nation want the option to sit outside on a heated terrace or beer garden, with a further 40% keen to stick to what they know and dine at a restaurant they have been to before.

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing restaurants to continuously adapt, OpenTable has summarised data from restaurants on the platform to show the state of the industry across the world, with information being updated daily. To see the latest insights, visit:



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