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Friday, July 2, 2010

Survey indicates an increase in out-of-home dining intentions

A study by Market Force Information suggests that a quarter of consumers say they’ll increase their restaurant expenditures over the next three months. That’s according to a story in this morning’s Media Post Marketing Daily.

Implications: If you’re in the restaurant business, you know that many consumers either “traded-down” in their restaurant choices during the recession, or simply cut back greatly on the frequency of their visits. Instead of going upscale, they were more likely to use a moderate-price restaurant. If casual restaurants were the habit, people were more likely to trade-down to price-point fast food locations.

With the recovery underway—and the study cited above indicates that it is, particularly in the restaurant business—the question becomes “How will you help old customers regain their old habits, and make yours the restaurant of choice?” Will price points be a consideration? Do your old customers long for an ambiance, customer service, or other experiential attribute that they haven’t enjoyed… since they left your restaurant with the onset of the recession?

Of course, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you are a fast food or family casual restaurant, how do you retain these new-found customers… who found you when seeking an economic alternative a couple of years ago?

Mike Anderson

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