Casual Dining Restaurants - The U.S. landscape according to consumers and restaurant operator

May 2018| MDK001A| Datassential

Report Highlights

28% of consumers are visiting casual dining restaurants MORE OFTEN today than one year ago. Increased visitation at casual dining is being driven by higher disposable income and improved food/beverage quality. Food is more of a driver of increased visitation than is either service or décor.

The majority of consumers who are visiting casual dining restaurants less often say they are visiting all AFH venues less often. Of those who are visiting other venues, they are more likely to frequent fast food and supermarket prepared departments.

The food/menu are the top driver for consumers when deciding between casual dining restaurants. Location and menu variety are the second-most-selected drivers, followed by service and then atmosphere.

Virtually all visits to casual dining were for full meals – only a handful stopped in for a snack or beverage alone

Operator menu inspiration comes primarily from customer comments/recommendations, food shows, and employee recommendations. Looking at competitor menus and magazines or websites are also top-used sources.Food items make up the majority of overall revenue for the casual dining segment, followed by alcoholic and then non-alcoholic beverages. Note that although food is clearly more important than beverages overall for driving total SALES – PROFIT is a factor of margins which are generally higher for beverages than for food.

PM favorites like burgers and salads have an outsized role on casual breakfast and brunch menus compared to other segments. Trendy items like shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and breakfast bowls are still growing despite significant penetration in the segment.

Take an in-depth look at the issues and opportunities facing casual dining with Datassential’s Casual Dining Keynote. Over 160 casual dining operators and over 1,000 casual dining consumers weigh in on their attitudes and behaviors around the segment, providing data and insights into current behaviors as well as what is next. Plus, we tapped our menu database to pull the hottest flavors and ingredients on casual dining menus. Learn from the experts about…

The Casual Dining Consumer
Explore casual dining usage frequency and consumer wants from the segment on everything from decor and ambiance to menu variety and service. Conjoint analysis determines not just what consumers say they want, but how they make tradeoffs when deciding where to dine.

The Casual Dining Operator
Learn what drives operators' choices and what suppliers can do to satisfy their needs. Uncover top challenges, operators' outlook for the future, how and where they buy products, revenue drivers for the segment, and operator motivators.

Casual Dining Menus
Dive into offerings, the role of LTOs/specials, menu change frequency, operator sales by menupart, and menu sizes. See what inspires new menu items and how prices have changed. Plus discover top trending flavors and ingredients and elements of successful chain menu introductions.

Other Key Elements of Casual Dining
Take a detailed look at promotions and marketing efforts, loyalty program offerings, the role of delivery, and select operator profiles.

Datassential, a Chicago-based food industry research and consulting firm, brings clients real-world information on foodservice and consumer packaged goods in the U.S. and around the world. The company’s services, including its extensive MenuTrends database, provide in-depth reporting on trends in menu offerings, flavor profiles, ingredients and preparations. Datassential helps operators, retailers, and suppliers understand and capitalize on these important trends.

Datassential makes the food industry smarter. We provide trend software, predictive analytics, and consumer insights that help manufacturers, food retailers, and chain restaurants innovate and sell more intelligently.

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