Datassential Gauges How Operators Are Feeling About Vaccine Mandates

Most Operators Believe Their Businesses Would Be Hurt if They Implemented a Mandate.

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Courtesy of Mr Brews Taphouse.

New York City’s vaccine mandate for restaurants now is official, and cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans are following suit with restrictions of their own. But as restaurant operators continue to grapple with a labor shortage and the topic of vaccination remains hot, how are they feeling about vaccine mandates?

The research firm Datassential polled operators to ask them this very question. For most, they’re not in favor of mandating vaccinations, with the majority saying they believe their restaurant would be harmed if they implemented vaccination restrictions.

Here’s a look at the stats:

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Courtesy of Datassential.

For 73% of operators, they say they are more likely to lose customers if COVID precautions are too restrictive, while 27% say they’re more likely to lose customers if precautions are too lenient.

But when it comes to considering implementing a vaccine mandate, most operators, 72%, say it’s a logistics issue; they simply don’t have adequate staff and resources to even enforce a customer vaccine mandate.

For the most part, operators right now aren’t asking much of their customers in terms of vaccinations. Currently, 91% of operators don’t inquire about their customers’ vaccination status, while 5% of operators require customers to show proof of vaccination. The other 4% of operators allow customers to show proof of vaccination, a positive antibody test or a negative COVID test.

When it comes to implementing in-house vaccination mandates for staff, the labor shortage again came up. For 60% of operators, they feel the labor shortage is too great to risk any employee quitting in opposition to a mandatory vaccination policy.

As of now, 21% of operators require their staff to be vaccinated, while 57% of operators require all staff to wear masks. For 67% of operators, they require staff to wear masks if they’re unvaccinated.

What are operators’ personal beliefs?

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Courtesy of Datassential.

The research firm then gauged operators’ personal feelings on different policies, such as whether employees should wear masks or whether customers should have to show proof of vaccination to dine inside. Their responses showed that operators were more likely to support mask policies than vaccination policies.

The top two policies operators personally supported were requiring all employees to wear masks (69% were in favor) and requiring all customers to wear masks (58% were in favor).

The two policies that were least supported by operators were requiring a negative COVID test or positive antibody test for customers to dine inside (20% were in favor) and requiring proof of vaccination for customers to dine inside (28% were in favor).

So, what do the customers think?

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Courtesy of Datassential.

Datassential then asked customers how they would react if restaurants they regularly visited began requiring some kind of COVID precaution to dine inside.

The research showed that most customers, 72%, would comply if they were required to wear a mask, while 7% said they would leave and reconsider visiting again.

Most customers, 56%, also said they would comply if they were asked to show proof of vaccination, while 20% said they would leave and reconsider visiting again.

The toughest requirement for customers appeared to be asking them to show a negative COVID test, with just 36% of customers reporting that they would comply. Another 24% said they would leave and reconsider visiting again.


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