Consumer Interest in Unique Restaurant Alternatives Increases

The restaurant industry continues to struggle with slow sales. Technomic recently reported that the family-​style segment holds a sweet spot to counter sour consumer attitudes about the current economic conditions. Is there anything fine dining operators can do to improve their position?

A new survey from Restaurant Rx reveals clues about what consumers are looking for and how fine dining operators can position themselves for success.  For example, while some consumers may be flocking to chain restaurants for quick-​serve or fast-​casual meals, they have a different attitude about fine dining. Nearly all surveyed consumers, 81%, want to eat at a  “one-​of-​a-​kind establishment” when they are paying for a fine dining experience. And operators can forget about steak and potatoes as a growth area. Only 11% of consumers put themselves in that category.

Here are a few details about what consumers are seeking:

  • Simply prepared foods service in a casual atmosphere 63%”
  • New dishes and exotic cuisines 61%”
  • High quality food and service – These factors ranked over 90%

About 88% of surveyed consumers said they would visit their favorite ‘upscale’ restaurant sometime in the next 3 months. Operators can increase their chances of growing their business by making sure to emphasize their unique offerings in marketing campaigns.
[Sources: Technomic sees upside for family-​style restaurants as consumers remain budget-​conscious. Technomic. 14 Jun. 2010. Web. 23 Jun. 2010; Restaurant RX Releases New Survey “2010’s Changing Face of America’s Fine Diners”. RestaurantRX. 21 Jun. 2010. Web. 25 Jun. 2010] 

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.