The world is good at putting acronyms together to explain a human condition. FOMO was coined to help define the inexplicable desire to do it all: The Fear of Missing Out. It even made it into the dictionary—I mean, not just the urban dictionary.

You also know YOLO, made famous by the Snapchat and Instagram generation: You Only Live Once. Similar to FOMO in that you don’t want to miss something, but more daring.

And now the pandemic has birthed a new one. This acronym takes us in a bit of the opposite direction. FOGO: Fear of Going Out.

It’s hard to imagine that being a fear pre-COVID, except perhaps for agoraphobics. Sure, introverts might have avoided going out, but it wasn’t due to fear as much as to preference—they simply like their own company (or that of a book) just fine.

FOGO is gaining traction as a “thing,” as lockdown eases and people feel comfortable going out again. Not all people, though. It can range from hesitation (Are you sure it is safe?) to resistance (“I’ve waited this long; I can wait longer.”), to permanent denial (“Why would I ever be in a crowd again?”)

The impact could affect every category, particularly in entertainment—fewer concert-goers, fewer restaurant patrons, and movie theatres permanently shuttered—their demise coming sooner than forecast as streaming services moved into place faster during the pandemic. It’s one of the many human behavior impacts that we’re seeing as we look to the future.

If the view scares you, let’s talk.

Interested in more on this subject? Our April 2021 newsletter addresses innovative ideas, programs, and technology used to build a post-pandemic future. As FOGO eases and customers return to dining out, they are being met with new digital payment options, tech-forward menu items, and nostalgic menu pricing. Find out more here or register for our free newsletter here.