Midscale Restaurant Goers Want Speed and Value

Feb 11, 2012 by

According to a recent Mintel foodservice study, 80% of family restaurant-goers who are eating out less in general are doing so because of budgetary reasons. Due to this and other challenges, family restaurant sales are expected to decline by 7% over the next four years, says the report. The family midscale segment has been the most negatively impacted, says the report, and the next few years aren’t expected to show an upward swing.

Eric Giandelone, foodservice director at Mintel, says “… pricing (alone) has not proved successful for family restaurants… (the) opportunity for the market to return to a path of growth is to employ a sustainable approach to value… (with) ‘reasonable’ prices and value-added benefits like health and convenience…”

However, historically, “healthy” menu items don’t sell well because a healthy item often communicates “no taste.” But, says the report, a change may be imminent, as 34% of restaurant-goers say healthy food is an important factor in selecting a family restaurant.

In addition, convenience is seen as another approach that can benefit this segment. While 75% of consumers enjoy the sit-down, full-service experience, families are more likely to say that service at these restaurants is typically too slow. As a result, families are more likely to save family restaurants for weekend dining, when they have more time, concludes the report.

Giandelone suggests that “… utilizing an ‘express lunch’ concept, family midscale restaurants can attract the business crowd during the week… and… implement a ‘family express dinner’… at a pace that coincides with busy week night schedules… “

70% of family restaurant patrons say value for their money is most important, followed by:

  • Menu items they like (69%)
  • Fresh food (60%)
  • Convenient location (59%)

Finally, 44% of family restaurant goers want to see more fruit as a side option on the menu, while 41% want different preparation methods, like grilling.

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