Outdoor dining was the area where rd+d readers saw the most investment in 2020, according to a December 2020 survey of qualified subscribers. 40.85% of respondents picked outdoor dining but 26.29% said investment in touchless technologies and sanitation theater elements were where they saw the greatest operator investment.

Off-premises dining investments came in third with 12.21% of qualified subscribers surveyed noting that drive-thru additions and upgrades were the areas where they saw the most investment in 2020. Walk-up windows came in fourth with 9.39% of respondents saying they saw the most investment in that area.

For the 11.27% who opted to write in their own answer, many noted they saw great investment in all of the above but added that investing in carryout and delivery — from integrating new technology to reworking or creating spaces to aid in it — was a big area of investment last year.

rd+d launched a yearlong research project that will periodically survey qualified subscribers on the state of restaurant development and design. Each issue in 2021 will feature new data collected from very recent reader surveys.