Win NYE by Knowing How Diners Choose Restaurants

TouchBistro set out to understand how today's restaurant goers choose the restaurants they dine at, including their dining habits, decision makers, and deal breakers. The question is, how does the information age we're living in impact the dining choices of restaurant goers?

"Restaurant goers are eating out more often and are regularly looking for new places to eat," Taylor Moore wrote. "Almost half of participants eat out between 2–4 times per week (48%), while more than half eat out at least once a week (56%). Restaurant goers occasionally look for somewhere new to dine (64%), while only a slim percentage stay with the same restaurants (18%)."

"Restaurant-​goers choose restaurants first and foremost based on type of food and great food can even outweigh a poor customer experience. The majority (63%) of restaurant goers say that the type of food would have the biggest impact on their restaurant choice, ranking higher than the other four factors, including location, recommendations from friends, online reviews, and popularity on social media. Almost three-​quarters (70%) agreed that they would re-​visit a restaurant that had bad customer service if their food was good."

Restaurants planning to make the most of the holiday eating-​out season should take these survey results to heart. Restaurateurs also should note that the new AudienceSCAN survey showed 14.5% of Americans celebrated New Year's Eve at a bar or restaurant last year, so they can improve this number for this year.

"Restaurant-​goers take recommendations from friends seriously. 91% of restaurant-​goers had visited a restaurant they’d never been to purely based on a friend’s recommendation, opposed to 68% who tried based entirely on positive online reviews, and 41% who tried based entirely on positive feedback on social media. Almost three-​quarters said they would avoid a restaurant if their friend gave them negative feedback."

"Most restaurant-​goers regularly look at online reviews to help make new restaurant decisions. The majority of participants (68%) said that they had tried a new restaurant based on positive online reviews. Almost half regularly (45%) check online reviews before deciding on a new restaurant. Millennial restaurant-​goers are more likely to look at reviews when deciding on a new restaurant than others (67%)."

The new AudienceSCAN survey showed 24% of New Year's Eve Celebrators used Yelp in the past six months to get information about bars and restaurants.

"Locally sourced food and live music options attract restaurant goers. When it comes to food options that attract restaurant goers, locally sourced food would have an impact on the restaurant choices of almost half of surveyed restaurant-​goers (49%). For entertainment, live music is a compelling attraction for nearly half of surveyed diners (44%)."

"Discounts and promotions continue to fill seats. Old marketing mainstays still fill seats, with 80% of restaurant goers visiting a new restaurant based entirely on receiving a discount or promotion."

NYE Celebrators will be searching for the hottest place in town for the big night. Make sure SEM is up to snuff! 43.5% of celebrators took action based on sponsored search results (like on Google, Yahoo or Bing) in the past month, according to AudienceSCAN research.

"Millennials have substantially different habits than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. More Millennials (66%) eat out multiple times per week than Gen Xers (50%) and Baby Boomers (54%). Millennials are much more likely to look at online reviews (67%) and social media (34%) than their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts. Baby boomers are significantly less driven by specific food options, like gluten-​free, locally sourced, and vegetarian."

"Urban restaurant-​goers have substantially different habits than small town and rural diners. Urban diners frequent restaurants more often, are more likely to try somewhere new every time they go out, and perform online activities before settling on a new restaurant. Small town and rural dwellers are less likely to use review sites, are less influenced by online reviews, and are less attracted to restaurant entertainment options."

"Ballers — or those in high income brackets — have finicky tastes. Ballers are more finicky about where they eat – they more frequently check online menus (69%) and reviews (62%) than other income brackets before committing to a new restaurant."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.