During the recent recession, if consumers went out to eat at all they often traded down to quick service establishments. This change in behavior benefited operators like McDonald’s which last week reported a revenue increase of 3.8%  at 142338_cafespecial_1restaurants open for over a year. But as the news of economic improvement continues, some industry watchers believe the family dining segment is a strong competitor.

Technomic recently reported that many family dining operators performed reasonably well during the recession and will continue to do so. Breakfast is an especially appealing day part for family dining operators. Technomic found that just over half of consumers (51%) prefer to eat breakfast at family style restaurants. Another strength of family dining restaurants is the opinions moms hold when it comes to kid-friendly features. Here are the percentages of moms who grade their favorite family dining destination as good or excellent when it comes to :

  • A good value for the money: 58%
  • Something my kids will eat: 76%
  • Kid-friendly atmosphere: 43%

For now restaurants are still luring consumers with discounted meals. In 2010, these restaurants may be marketing new offerings as they attempt to beat the competition. Either way, spending in this sector is poised to rise.

[Sources:  Family dining restaurants well positioned, Technomic, 10.15.09; Jargon, Julie. Will Fast Food Slow? Wall Street Journal, 10.22.09]