Chipotle Mexican Grill CEO Brian Niccol warned that the restaurant industry should anticipate continuing restrictions on indoor dining. They need to do so as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
“I think you’re going to see more [indoor] dining being curtailed,” Niccol told Fox Business’s Liz Claman. “We were on kind of a nice progression of bringing it back across the country. But … I anticipate that the dining room business is going to continue to be under pressure.”
According to Niccol, consumer psychology is one of the factors that weigh on the industry. It comes as “pandemic uncertainty wages on and diners lack the confidence to enjoy indoor eating,” Fox Business reported.
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🇺🇸 Chipotle CEO warns coronavirus surges will continually ‘pressure’ indoor dining https://t.co/BKnQBRQ1p7
— Neil Saunders (@NeilRetail) October 30, 2020
“I would love for it to continue to progress the way it was just a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “But I think, unfortunately, the psychology [of] the consumer and then the data that’s coming out is going to result in us having to weigh more heavily on our digital and off-premise business.”
Restaurants must adapt to the changing environment, Niccol said, to ensure customer safety. He pointed out that as the temperature drops, “the cases have spiked and then places are taking action around not allowing [indoor] dining experiences, it’s going to become more and more important to be able to provide a great off-premise or digital experience.”