Dollar/value menus and other perceived consumers deals are no longer driving traffic growth at restaurants, according to new research from The NPD Group. For the year ending August 2012, non-deal restaurant visits increased by +1% in each of the last two years while visits on-a-deal have been on the decline during this same timeframe. This is a reversal from three years ago when consumer perceived deals were up +3% for three years in a row and non-deal visits were trending down.
In the first quarter of 2012, six percent of restaurant visits (926 million visits) were influenced by online marketing, reports The NPD Group. Additionally, those restaurant visits supported eight percent of all spending for restaurant meals/snacks, and the influence is expected to increase, reports NPD’s foodservice market research. Online marketing is effective in attracting new customers and stimulating trial.
After spending the recession and much of the recovery patronizing limited service restaurants, consumers appear to have a changing appetite. So far this year, the fast-casual and full-service sectors have seen traffic and sales rise. To maintain this momentum, marketers will likely be rolling out promotions to lure consumers during the all-important summer season.
Restaurants have resorted to a wide variety of tactics to reel in customers. The lingering recession means it’s more important than ever before to employ the most effective advertising strategies. For restaurants, it seems that patrons most easily recall the ads they've seen on TV.
Restaurants are still resorting to numerous marketing strategies to lure consumers back through their doors. One of the biggest trends this year has been the promotion of healthy foods. This technique is even being used by some quick service restaurants with varying success.
It’s the time of year when small businesses who want to sell food to consumers must come up with new marketing angles. Foodservice operators have been challenged by tough economic conditions in the recent past and hope to be on the road to recovery next year. While it’s too soon to tell what 2012 has in store, foodservice marketers can improve their chances of increasing sales by promoting the ways their offerings tie into the latest trends.
Younger consumers are more likely to use limited-service and snack and beverage restaurants than average, and likely to use them more often–and Hispanic consumers are no exception. For example, Hispanics age 18–24 are about 25% more likely than Hispanics in general to use both limited-service and at least 14 times per month. While non-Hispanic usage similarly tilts to youth, the prevalence of younger consumers in the Hispanic population makes Hispanic youth that much more important to the restaurant industry.
The family orientation of U.S. Hispanics extends to restaurant dining, according to The NPD Group. Slightly over 40% of restaurant visits by Hispanics include children compared to 30% of non-Hispanic visits, based on the latest findings from NPD’s "CREST Hispanic foodservice market research. Hispanic restaurant consumers indicate they would visit restaurants more often if their children are made to feel welcome.
Numerous studies have been published this year on the daily deal format to determine whether it’s really working out for marketers. The restaurant industry has been very willing to use daily deals to try to improve customer traffic. This sector has been hit hard by the economic slowdown. And the latest research from Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research suggests that, despite some bad press, daily deals can work for restaurants.
The lunch market in the restaurant industry is worth about $114 billion. Depending on the sector a restaurant operates in, lunch can comprise between 20% and 40% of revenue. Consumers say they eat out for lunch more than for any other meal – an average of 2.6 lunches a week when both carryout and dining in are counted. But many operators would still like to boost their lunch traffic.