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American Families and Dining Out - US - February 2011

American families that share meals together are more likely to be happier and healthier, according to research conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). Mintel’s custom consumer research reveals that the vast majority of families frequently dine together at restaurants. This means the foodservice industry plays an integral role in the lives of American families.

This report explores the factors that shape how families eat at restaurants. Mintel provides valuable insights that can help you make informed decisions in tailoring marketing messages to families, launching new menu items with family appeal, and identifying opportunities as they pertain to American families and dining out. Insights into, along with meaningful analysis and discussion of, the following topics are included:

  • Restaurant industry sales and market outlook
  • Recessionary factors that contribute to troubled restaurant sales
  • Trends in annual spending on food away from home by family consumer units
  • Effects of demographic shifts on restaurant usage, with particular focus on the child population and Hispanics
  • Discussion of health and wellness trends as they apply to families, along with the subsequent impact on restaurant usage
  • Trends for at-home dining by families, and ways restaurants can entice families to dine out
  • Menu analysis by daypart, menu item, kids’ meals, price, and marketing claim, underscored with industry examples
  • Analysis of family-centric marketing and promotional strategies by leading restaurant operators
  • Family restaurant usage by weekday and weekend use; daypart; and restaurant segment
  • Family habits and rationales for dining out, with special focus on how the recession has impacted family dining habits
  • What parents want to see on kids’ menus, as well as interest in healthy/nutritional meals for both parents and kids

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Mintel Menu Insights
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                      • Restaurant sales a casualty of the recession
                        • Traditional families aide restaurant sales during recession
                          • Bringing families back to the dinner table
                            • Families represent a shrinking share of the population
                              • Growth in the Hispanic population bodes well for family dining
                                • Healthy dining is important for families
                                  • Dining out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
                                    • The kids’ menu is a competitive necessity
                                    • Insights and Opportunities

                                      • Families provide best route in the road to recovery for restaurant industry
                                        • Insight: Traditional American Families
                                          • Figure 1: Family dining habits impacted by recession, by marital status, November 2010
                                        • Opportunities
                                        • Inspire Insights

                                            • Trend: Experience Is All
                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                              • Key points
                                                • Restaurant industry outlook: A return to normalcy
                                                  • Sales and forecast of restaurant sales
                                                    • Figure 2: U.S. restaurant sales, at current prices, 2005-15
                                                    • Figure 3: U.S. restaurant sales, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2005-15
                                                  • Fan chart forecast
                                                      • Figure 4: Restaurant industry fan chart forecast, at current prices, 2005-15
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Recession causes restaurant sales to suffer, but outlook improves
                                                      • Figure 5: NRA performance indices, January 2009-November 2010
                                                      • Figure 6: Adjusted foodservice and drinking places sales, January 2008-November 2010
                                                    • Rising food prices
                                                      • Figure 7: CPI for food, November 2008-November 2010
                                                    • Unemployment and underemployment impact spending
                                                      • Figure 8: Unemployment and underemployment rates, January 2007-December 2010
                                                    • Cash at hand remains limited
                                                      • Figure 9: Real personal disposable income, January 2007-November 2010
                                                    • Consumer confidence still rattled
                                                      • Figure 10: Consumer Sentiment Index, March 2007-December 2010
                                                    • The impact of the family consumer unit on restaurant sales
                                                      • Figure 11: Average annual expenditures for food away from home, all consumer units vs. parents, 2005-09
                                                      • Figure 12: Average annual expenditures per consumer unit for food away from home, by marital status and presence of children, 2005-09
                                                      • Figure 13: Index of average annual expenditures per consumer unit for food away from home, by marital status and presence of children, 2005-09
                                                    • Families representing smaller share of households
                                                      • Figure 14: Households by presence of children, 1999-2009
                                                    • The child population—restaurant needs vary by age
                                                      • Figure 15: Population, by age, 2006-16
                                                    • Hispanics more likely to dine as a family
                                                      • Figure 16: Population by Hispanic origin, 2006-16
                                                    • Battling the bulge is a family affair
                                                      • Figure 17: Age-adjusted prevalence of being overweight, obese, or extremely obese, among adults aged 20 or older, 1988-2008
                                                    • Children following in parents’ footsteps
                                                        • Figure 18: Incidence of kids’ menu items, by nutritional ingredient claim, Q3 2008–Q3 2010
                                                        • Figure 19: Prevalence of obesity among children aged 2-19, 1988-2008
                                                      • Government intervention in healthy dining
                                                      • Competitive Context

                                                        • The family meal at home
                                                          • The implication
                                                            • Figure 20: Family dining at home, November 2010
                                                          • Recession fuels at-home dining trend
                                                            • Figure 21: Incidence of cooking more at home to save money and improve nutrition, July 2010
                                                          • Restaurant operators entice families to dine out
                                                            • The bottom line
                                                              • But challenges remain
                                                              • Menu Analysis—Differences by Daypart

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Dinner offers consumers more choice
                                                                    • Figure 22: Incidence of menu items, by menu type, Q3 2008–Q3 2010
                                                                  • Breakfast is the least expensive meal
                                                                      • Figure 23: Average price of menu items, by menu type, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                  • Menu Analysis—What’s on the Menu

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Entrées and sandwiches account for largest menu sections
                                                                          • Figure 24: Incidence of menu items, by menu section, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                        • Diversity in choice of entrée
                                                                            • Figure 25: Incidence of entrée menu items, by type, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                          • Casual dining offers largest menu
                                                                              • Figure 26: Incidence of menu items, by restaurant segment, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                            • The price of dining out
                                                                              • Figure 27: Average price of menu items, by menu section, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                            • Fast casual offers lowest prices
                                                                              • Figure 28: Average price of menu items, by restaurant segment, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                          • Menu Analysis—Kids’ Menu Items

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Choices for kids
                                                                                  • Figure 29: Incidence of kids’ menu items, by type, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                                • Frying chicken is the most popular
                                                                                  • Figure 30: Incidence of kids’ chicken menu items, by preparation, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                                • Fine dining increases the number of kids’ menu items; fast casual taking it slow
                                                                                    • Figure 31: Incidence of kids’ menu items, by restaurant segment, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                                  • The price of kids’ menu items
                                                                                      • Figure 32: Average price of kids’ menu items, by type, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                                  • Menu Analysis—The Combo Deal

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Make it a combo
                                                                                          • Figure 33: Average price of combo menu items, by restaurant segment, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                                        • Kids’ menus—the price of happiness
                                                                                            • Figure 34: Average price of kids’ combo menu items, by restaurant segment, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                                        • Menu Analysis—Marketing the Menu

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Marketing menu items toward adults
                                                                                              • Hot trend—Gluten-free
                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Incidence of menu item, by marketing claim, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                                                • Marketing the kids’ menu
                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Incidence of kids’ menu items, by marketing claim, Q3 2008-Q3 2010
                                                                                                • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Family is part of Olive Garden’s brand message
                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Olive Garden’s television ad, family of five, June 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Olive Garden’s television ad, favorite uncles, June 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Olive Garden’s television ad, college visit, June 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Demographic index* for olivegarden.com, by age, January 2011
                                                                                                    • McDonald’s—The brand that woos kids
                                                                                                      • Figure 41: McDonald’s television ad, happy meal toy promotion, August 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 42: McDonald’s television ad, Charity donation, June 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Demographic index* for mcdonalds.com, by presence and age of children in household, April 2010
                                                                                                    • Peripheral efforts to appeal to families
                                                                                                      • A sense of family
                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Applebee’s television ad, May 2010
                                                                                                      • Free kids’ meals
                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Chili’s email alert, December 2010
                                                                                                      • Fundraisers encourage family dining
                                                                                                        • Ad spending of top advertisers by restaurant segment
                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Top three restaurant advertisers, by segment, 2008 and 2009
                                                                                                      • Family Dining at Home

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Families most likely to eat dinner together at home
                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Family dining at home, November 2010
                                                                                                          • Single parents less apt to have family dinners
                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Family dining at home, by marital status, November 2010
                                                                                                        • Family Dining at Restaurants

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Incidence of families dining at restaurants during the month
                                                                                                              • Families frequently dine at restaurants
                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Family dining at restaurants, November 2010
                                                                                                              • Restaurant usage lags among the less affluent
                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Family dining at restaurants, by household income, November 2010
                                                                                                              • Single parents are less apt to dine out as a family during the week
                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Family dining at restaurants, by marital status, November 2010
                                                                                                              • Restaurant usage by households with children
                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Restaurant usage, by households with children and marital status of parents, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                              • Lunchtime and snacking offer opportunities in family dining
                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Attitudes toward meal occasions and snacking, by presence of children in household, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                              • Children and teen usage of restaurants by dining occasion
                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Kids’ and teens’ restaurant usage, by dining occasion, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                            • Family Dining at Restaurants by Daypart

                                                                                                              • Breakfast
                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Weekday breakfast
                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Restaurant dining for weekday breakfast, November 2010
                                                                                                                  • Weekend breakfast
                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Restaurant dining for weekend breakfast, November 2010
                                                                                                                  • Lunch
                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Weekday lunch
                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Restaurant dining for weekday lunch, November 2010
                                                                                                                      • Weekend lunch
                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Restaurant dining for weekend lunch, November 2010
                                                                                                                      • Dinner
                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Weekday dinner
                                                                                                                            • Figure 59: Restaurant dining for weekday dinner, November 2010
                                                                                                                          • Weekend dinner
                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Restaurant dining for weekend dinner, November 2010
                                                                                                                        • Family Dining Out—Habits and Behaviors

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Speed of service and kids’ meals are important to family dining
                                                                                                                              • Figure 61: Families’ restaurant dining habits and behaviors, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                            • Less affluent parents more likely to limit kids’ food choices by price
                                                                                                                              • Figure 62: Families’ restaurant dining habits and behaviors, by household income, November 2010
                                                                                                                            • Large families look for entertainment value
                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Families’ restaurant dining habits and behaviors, by number of children, November 2010
                                                                                                                          • Family Dining-Out Habits—Impact of the Recession

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Families continue to modify behavior because of the recession
                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Family dining habits impacted by recession, by household income, November 2010
                                                                                                                              • Families are dining out less often because of the recession
                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Recession-induced changes in family dining-out habits, November 2010
                                                                                                                            • What Parents Want to See More of on the Kids’ Menu

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Healthy meals in demand for kids
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: What parents would like to see more of on the kids’ menu, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Larger families want more variety
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 67: What parents would like to see more of on the kids’ menu, by number of children, November 2010
                                                                                                                                • Interest in Healthy/Nutritional Restaurant Meals

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Parents show greatest concern in healthy meals for young children
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Interest in healthy/nutritional restaurant meals, for self or children, November 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Moms and dads equally concerned about healthy restaurants meals for young kids
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 69: Interest in healthy/nutritional restaurant meals for children aged 1-5, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Moms are more inclined not to worry about healthy meals for kids aged 6-11
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 70: Interest in healthy/nutritional restaurant meals for children aged 6-11, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Servings of fruits and veggies still popular for teens
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 71: Interest in healthy/nutritional restaurant meals for children aged 12-17, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Women look for fruits and veggies in restaurant meals for themselves
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 72: Interest in healthy/nutritional restaurant meals for themselves, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Restaurant Diners’ Usage of Social Media

                                                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Restaurant diners’ usage of social media, by presence of children in household, April 2009–June 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Impact of Race/Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Hispanic families more likely to eat breakfast and lunch together
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 74: Family dining at home, by Hispanic origin, November 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Hispanics more likely to dine out as a family
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 75: Family dining at restaurants, by Hispanic origin, November 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Hispanics are influenced by affordability and health
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 76: Families’ restaurant dining habits and behaviors, by Hispanic origin, November 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                          • Infrequent Meal Sharers
                                                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                  • Recession-Induced Economizers
                                                                                                                                                    • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                          • Family Feasters
                                                                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                  • Characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 77: Family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 78: Family dining at home, by family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 79: Family dining at restaurants, by family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 80: Restaurant dining for weekday breakfast, by family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 81: Restaurant dining for weekend breakfast, by family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 82: Restaurant dining for weekday lunch, by family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 83: Restaurant dining for weekend lunch, by family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 84: Restaurant dining for weekday dinner, by family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 85: Restaurant dining for weekend dinner, by family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 86: Families’ restaurant dining habits and behaviors, by family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 87: Recession-induced changes in family dining-out habits, by family dining clusters, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 88: Family dining clusters, by gender, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 89: Family dining clusters, by age, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 90: Family dining clusters, by household income, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 91: Family dining clusters, by race, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 92: Family dining clusters, by Hispanic origin, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 93: Family dining clusters, by number of children, November 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster methodology:
                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                    • American Heart Association, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • American Medical Association (AMA)
                                                                                                                                                                    • Applebee's International Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Bob Evans Farms Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Brinker International Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Bureau of Economic Analysis
                                                                                                                                                                    • Burger King Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                    • Captain D's Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Caribou Coffee Company Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                                                                                                                                                                    • Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • CiCi Enterprises, LP
                                                                                                                                                                    • Darden Restaurants Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Denny's Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                    • Domino's Pizza LLB
                                                                                                                                                                    • Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Fazoli's Restaurants, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Food and Drug Administration
                                                                                                                                                                    • Food Distributors International
                                                                                                                                                                    • Food Marketing Institute
                                                                                                                                                                    • GE Capital
                                                                                                                                                                    • Golden Corral Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                    • Hardee's Food Systems, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Hasbro Inc
                                                                                                                                                                    • International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC)
                                                                                                                                                                    • International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA)
                                                                                                                                                                    • International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA)
                                                                                                                                                                    • International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA)
                                                                                                                                                                    • International Franchise Association (IFA)
                                                                                                                                                                    • Jamie Oliver
                                                                                                                                                                    • Landry's Restaurants, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • LinkedIn
                                                                                                                                                                    • Mattel Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • McDonald's U.S.A.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Metromedia Restaurant Group
                                                                                                                                                                    • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                                                                    • National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR)
                                                                                                                                                                    • National Restaurant Association (NRA)
                                                                                                                                                                    • National Retail Federation (NRF)
                                                                                                                                                                    • Natural Products Association
                                                                                                                                                                    • Nintendo of America Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Organic Trade Association
                                                                                                                                                                    • OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Panera Bread Company
                                                                                                                                                                    • Papa John's International, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Pizza Hut Inc
                                                                                                                                                                    • Produce Marketing Association
                                                                                                                                                                    • Reuters Group PLC
                                                                                                                                                                    • Ruby Tuesday Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Ruth's Chris Steak House, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Shoney's North America Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                    • Subway
                                                                                                                                                                    • TGI Friday's
                                                                                                                                                                    • The Vegetarian Resource Group
                                                                                                                                                                    • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                    • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                    • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                                                                    • University of Michigan, The
                                                                                                                                                                    • US Department of Commerce
                                                                                                                                                                    • USA Today
                                                                                                                                                                    • Walt Disney Company, The
                                                                                                                                                                    • Zaxby's Franchising, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                    American Families and Dining Out - US - February 2011

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