Survey assesses consumer perceptions of different dining room setups implemented by restaurants amid COVID-19 pandemic — ScienceDaily


Restaurants around the world were forced to shut down their dining rooms at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year to comply with stay-at-home orders. While many operations closed for good, others reopened at limited capacity several weeks later, sparking creative solutions to enforce social distancing guidelines, including utilizing mannequins. Others were more conservative and opted to place plastic or glass partitions between tables. But which socially-distanced dining room do consumers prefer?

A study published in the International Journal of Hospitality Managementrevealed that consumer perceptions of the dining room that utilized partitions were significantly greater than those that used mannequins. Scott Taylor, assistant professor at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, led the survey of more than 300 people comparing the two servicescapes on the qualities of aesthetics, comfort, safety and cleanliness.

“Results of the current study suggest that consumers have differing perceptions of the cleanliness of the two socially distant servicescapes that were assessed,” Taylor reported. “However, it was not just cleanliness that was found to be perceived significantly differently between the two servicescapes, as respondents indicated that the dining room that has partitions between tables was more visually attractive, cleaner looking, more welcoming, safer looking, more entertaining, more sanitary and more comfortable than the dining room with mannequins.”

Like much of the country, Taylor, a restaurant industry veteran who spent years working in both the kitchen and in management, watched in dismay as thousands of restaurants nationwide closed over the summer. He was intrigued by a restaurant in Virginia making national news for placing mannequins in its dining room. Dressed in old-fashioned attire, the figures were staged to be eating, reading and even proposing on bended knee — all normal scenes for a normal dining room. But 2020

3M Survey Reports Decline In Science Skepticism For First Time In 3 Years


Since 2018, 3M has launched an annual State of Science Index to track public attitudes towards science across the world. But for 2020, the company conducted two surveys, a Pre-Pandemic Wave and a Pandemic Pulse Wave survey, finding that science skepticism has declined for the first time in three years, and that there is an increased public understanding of the importance of science in our daily lives.

In the Pre-Pandemic Wave survey, representative samples of 1,000 adults (aged 18+) in 18 countries, including China, Mexico and the US, were asked to complete a 15-20 minute long survey to assess their attitude towards science. Among the pre-pandemic survey findings, there was a rise in science skepticism to 35%, from an original 29% in 2018.

“As the pandemic sort of spread, the question was: has the relationship with science changed for people as this is going on?” says Jayshree Seth, who is a corporate scientist and the chief science advocate at 3M.

In the summer of 2020, 3M launched a second survey, titled the Pandemic Pulse Wave, to understand whether public attitudes changed during Covid-19. 1,000 adults were asked a series of questions in 11 of the 14 countries from the Pre-Pandemic survey. India, Mexico, and South Africa were excluded due to logistical reasons.

When comparing the two surveys, there were a few key findings.

Firstly, there was a decline in science skepticism for the first time in three years. Specifically, when respondents were asked about the following sentence, “I am skeptical of science,” the percent who agreed fell by seven points between the Pre-Pandemic (35%) and Pandemic Pulse (28%).

Similarly, public trust in science has increased from 85% (Pre-Pandemic)

Biden or Trump? Survey Reveals Americans’ Views on Future of Social Security


Just in case it may have somehow slipped your mind amid the barrage of news coverage, ads, and tweets, there’s a political election coming up this November. The differences between the candidates have been well documented, but how are those differences perceived by the voting public?

In the case of how Americans view the candidates’ respective views on Social Security, a new survey by Simplywise, a fintech that provides technology to help people plan and save for retirement, sheds some light. The company’s most recent Retirement Confidence Index, released in September, revealed that 63% of Americans feel confident in the future of Social Security if the Democratic challenger, former Vice president Joe Biden, is elected, while only 44% feel confident if President Donald Trump is reelected. Among people age 60 and over, 59% feel confident in the future of Social Security if Biden wins compared to 43% for Trump.

Trump and the payroll tax

The major reason for the perceived lack of confidence in President Trump, according to the survey, seems to be his recent actions and statements related to the payroll tax, which is the primary funding source for Social Security. Trump signed an executive order (EO) in August calling for a four-month deferral of the payroll tax for workers earning less than $4,000 per biweekly pay period. This was done to help people through tough times by giving them a little extra cash in their paychecks.

The Capitol dome with images of dollar bills fanned out behind it, and a Social Security card behind the bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

However, the Simplywise survey, a random survey of 1,154 Americans, said that 86% are concerned that the payroll tax deferral will hurt Social Security in the long run. But to be clear, the deferral laid out in the EO would be temporary, as the taxes would be paid back starting in January. But the EO did say that

SAP users face cost squeeze, pressure to digitalise: survey


By Douglas Busvine

BERLIN (Reuters) – The customers of software group SAP <SAPG.DE> are suffering severe declines in revenue and earnings while at the same time facing intensifying pressure to hike IT spending to go digital, a survey showed on Monday.

The poll of SAP’s German-speaking user community found that nearly three-quarters were experiencing sharp drops in revenue. At the same time, over four-fifths said the coronavirus pandemic made digital transformation a more pressing task.

“At the centre of this crisis is the need for businesses to do more with less,” said Marco Lenck, chairman of the German-speaking DSAG user group that commissioned the survey.

The DSAG, which represents 3,700 businesses, is an influential lobby that has called on SAP to make it easier to upgrade systems traditionally hosted on site to run in remote datacentres.

Such cloud hosting makes it easier for firms to scale up or pare back their business process operations in line with need. But the initial cost and difficulty of making that move deters many.

SAP’s new CEO, Christian Klein, welcomed the DSAG survey’s findings, which he said were representative of how the group’s global business was performing.

Klein told a joint briefing with the DSAG that SAP had taken on board calls to improve integration between its four main processes: sales, procurement, human resources and supply chain management.

Work on creating a common data model, user interface and consistent security and identity management in these four areas was now 57% complete, he said. By the end of the year, 90% of the job will be done.

Klein also said that, given the cost pressures that some clients were facing, for example in the airlines sector, SAP was offering flexible payment terms to help ride out the economic slump.

“We expect the transformation in the

Trust in science rose during the pandemic: survey


Skepticism toward science fell globally during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new survey data commissioned by 3M.

The big picture: Science is having a moment as researchers race to create COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and people seek information about how to curb transmission of the virus.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly causing people to think more about science,” says Gayle Schueller, chief sustainability officer at 3M, which worked with the research firm Ipsos on its State of Science Index.

Key takeaway: After three years of trending upward, skepticism toward science fell globally from 35% of people agreeing with the statement “I am skeptical of science” in a pre-pandemic survey to 28% in a survey taken in July and August of 2020.

What they found:

  • Trust in science and scientists also rose during the pandemic. That’s in line with a recent Pew Research Center survey that found majorities of people around the world had at least some trust in scientists, though there are significant differences between those who lean politically left versus right in places like the U.S. and Canada.
  • Healthcare (both treatments for COVID-19 and for cancer and chronic illness), STEM and social justice equity, and addressing climate change were the highest priority issues for science to solve among the people surveyed.
  • In the U.S., 50% of people who said they were discouraged from pursuing science in school cited gender, race and ethnic inequalities as a reason, compared with 27% globally.
  • Globally, 82% of respondents agreed there are negative consequences to society if science isn’t valued and 92% agreed people should follow scientific evidence about COVID-19.

Yes, but: 32% of people surveyed said if science didn’t exist, their everyday life wouldn’t be that different, a disconnect seen in earlier surveys.

  • “As a scientist, I find it painful that people aren’t