Zagat Points to Gradual Recovery in Dining Out Sector

The restaurant industry suffered more than others during the Great Recession. And the business outlook for fine dining operators may not be all that positive until consumers feel more confident about their personal financial situation. Restaurants can improve their competitive position by offering the foods and services that consumers say they are looking for. Zagat recently published its latest findings on this sector.

Zagat queried diners in the top metro areas in the U.S. and reports that on average, most consumers report eating 3.1 meals out per week. The overall meal cost was $35.37 and consumers say they are giving an average tip of 19.2%. Here’s a closer look at the numbers.

The favorite cuisines of U.S consumers breaks out as follows:

  • Italian: 26%
  • American: 17%
  • Japanese: 11%
  • French: 11%
  • Mexican: 10%
  • Thai: 8%
  • Chinese: 6%
  • Indian: 6%
  • Other: 6%

In addition to selecting a restaurant based on the type of food being offered, consumers can be swayed by other types of promotions. For example:

  • Consumers who are willing to pay more for ‘locally sourced’ food: 60%
  • Consumers who seek out establishments with ‘locally sourced’ foods: 31%
  • Consumers are still looking for dining deals: 55%
  • Consumers who are paying more attention to prices: 39%
  • Consumers who skip appetizers/​dessert: 21%

The results of this survey indicate that restaurants should promote the availability of ‘locally sourced’ foods. To increase traffic, they should also consider offering dining deals and encourage consumers to share an appetizer or dessert that might otherwise be skipped altogether.

[Source: Zagat Survey Summary. Zagat​.com. 26 Oct. 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 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.