press release

Reopening Restaurants and Retail: The Customer Perspective

JoAnn Loviglio
T 215.440.5546


New CCD survey examines the public’s views on when they will return to shopping, dining

PHILADELPHIA (June 16, 2020) – The return to shopping and dining will be slow and gradual, influenced by how well and consistently businesses address public concerns about public health and safety, as well as the City of Philadelphia’s flexibility in encouraging the expanded use of public space on sidewalks and streets to accommodate seating and customer waiting lines, according to results of a new Center City District (CCD) survey of Philadelphia residents.

CCD emailed a SurveyMonkey questionnaire directly to 17,000 residents who live between Girard Avenue and Tasker Street, river to river, and forwarded it for redistribution to several Greater Center City civic associations and to the managers of downtown residential apartment and condominium buildings. The survey was completed by 1,910 respondents from June 8 to June 15 with responses equally distributed between residents of core Center City, the four ZIP codes between Vine and Pine streets, and extended Center City ZIP codes 19123, 19130, 19146 and 19147.

During the stay-at-home period, residents relied primarily on neighborhood restaurants with 76% walking to pick up their meals, while 29% relied on a car, taxi, or car-share, and 5% biked. For customers who had meals delivered, 86% reported delivery by car, 61% received delivery by bike and 17% reported deliveries made on foot.

The survey suggests that customers expect to come back to restaurants gradually: 20% indicated they would dine out immediately upon reopening with 20% returning within the first two weeks. Another 15% expect to dine out within the first three to four weeks, 24% after a month, and 21% will wait at least two months. Those over 65 indicated they would return to restaurants more slowly than those in their 20s and 30s.

More than six in 10 respondents expect to dine out less than they used to, and just 4% expect to dine out more than they did before the pandemic; only 34% expect to dine out as much as they used to prior to the pandemic. Take-out service will remain important: 68% expect that after restaurants reopen, they will continue to rely on take-out as much or even more than they did before the stay-at-home order took effect.

The survey captures clearly how the stay-at-home order prompted more people to rely on online retail shopping: 83% reported purchasing items online for delivery; 32% made online purchases for curbside pickup. After stores reopen, 26% expect to make more online purchases than they did before the shutdown.

Similarly to the survey’s responses regarding restaurants, customers expect to come back slowly to in-store shopping: 20% expect to return to in-store shopping immediately after stores reopen; 23% expect to return within the first two weeks. Another 19% expect to return to shopping in the first three to four weeks after reopening; 21% expect to wait a month; 16% expect to wait at least two months. Older respondents expect a longer delay in their return to in-store shopping, with 42% of those age 65 or older expecting to wait one month or more, compared to 35% of those under age 35.

For the full report, including responses to all 14 survey questions and demographic data, visit Reopening Restaurants and Retail: Customer Perspective.

CCD also conducted a survey earlier this month of retailers and restaurateurs on uses of outdoor space that also highlights the need for the greater use of public sidewalks and streets for both outdoor seating and customer lines. For that report, visit Survey of Restaurants and Retailers: Use of Outdoor Space.

In the News

June 16, 2020 | Center City residents provide peek into future dining, shopping habits as reopening begins, Philadelphia Business Journal


Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at and on Facebook and Twitter.