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Attitudes Towards Dining Out - US - January 2009

In 2009, the restaurant industry will face steep challenges, the result of an economic downturn that has reduced guest traffic at almost every restaurant segment in 2008, leaving the industry reeling. This is why this report is a must read for industry participants, as it provides needed insight into the following:

  • How restaurants can spin value on the menu via a variety of means and as applied to a range of restaurant segments

  • The degree of trading out of restaurants and trading down to cheaper restaurants

  • How food away from home can be spun competitively against food at home

  • Which longer-term consumers trends have positive momentum and why are they important to he market?

  • To which kinds of purchase incentives would consumers likely to gravitate?

  • Which mainstream trends are poised for additional growth?

  • Which emerging trends are poised for takeoff?

  • What are the most relevant dining out rationales and how can they be leveraged?

  • Which are the most important restaurant qualities to consumers and how can they be leveraged?

  • What food qualities to consumers identify at their "favorite restaurant"?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Abbreviations and terms
              • Abbreviations
              • Executive Summary

                • A challenging recessionary environment
                  • On the positive side
                    • Short term strategy
                      • Spinning value on the menu
                        • Fast food operators should pay close attention to their value menu mix
                          • Taking a second look at incentives
                            • Short and long term strategy: be on trend!
                              • Big trends that are getting bigger
                                • Emerging trends poised for takeoff
                                  • The dining out consumer
                                    • Restaurant usage, by segment
                                      • Dining out rationales
                                        • Important restaurant qualities
                                          • Food qualities at favorite restaurant
                                          • Insights and Opportunities

                                            • Taking the long view: it’s about the lifestyle benefit
                                              • I don’t care how bad the economy is. I want it, and I want it now.
                                                • Healthfulness is here to stay. The government says so.
                                                  • Figure 1: Incidence of trying to eat healthier foods, 2003-08
                                                • Why is this important?
                                                • Inspire Insights

                                                    • Goodbye to the American portion?
                                                      • Broad strokes
                                                        • The dining out dichotomy
                                                          • Another helping?
                                                            • Free will is a gift that can be taken away!
                                                            • Market Drivers

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Economic overview: not a pleasant picture
                                                                    • Hop on the CPI rollercoaster!
                                                                        • Figure 2: Consumer Price Index, indices of key consumer items, January 2006-November 2008
                                                                      • Consumer debt: the chicken that has come home to roost
                                                                        • Figure 3: Consumer credit outstanding, dollar change, 2007-08
                                                                        • Figure 4: Consumer credit outstanding, percentage change, 2007-08
                                                                      • Home and equity value declines: a one-two household wealth punch
                                                                        • Real estate woes bring down the house
                                                                          • Figure 5: Case Shiller Home Price Index, January 2004-October 2008
                                                                        • Taking little stock in the stock market
                                                                          • A gloomy travel picture
                                                                            • Bottom line: restaurants feel the pain
                                                                              • Industry recession passes one year mark
                                                                                • Figure 6: Restaurant Performance Index, current situation, and expectations, November 2007-August 2008
                                                                              • Commodity prices on a tear—no, that was last month
                                                                                  • Figure 7: Producer Price Index, key farm products, January 2004-November 2008
                                                                              • Competitive Context

                                                                                • Meals eaten away from home enhance their price competitiveness
                                                                                  • Traffic bleeding from restaurants to the kitchen table
                                                                                      • Figure 8: Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending, November 2009
                                                                                    • Ready-to-eat meals
                                                                                      • Convenience, price, and customization provide allure
                                                                                        • Fighting the convenience trend: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
                                                                                        • Innovation and Innovators: Spinning Value

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Spinning value on the menu
                                                                                              • It is more than dollars and cents
                                                                                                • Nothing spells affordability better than $1
                                                                                                  • Increased importance of the Dollar Menu
                                                                                                    • Finding the right equation: if not $1, how about $5?
                                                                                                      • Pushing to the max: how much do I get for the price?
                                                                                                        • Pushing “mini”: value in sharing and lots of small bites
                                                                                                          • Value in variety
                                                                                                          • Menu Analysis: The Value Menu

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • The ideal dollar menu
                                                                                                                • McDonald’s: a Dollar Menu leader
                                                                                                                  • The signature sandwich: balancing consumer value with operating margins
                                                                                                                  • Innovation and Innovators: Incentives to Dine

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Promotions now the rule, not the exception
                                                                                                                            • Figure 9: Incentives to dine at restaurants, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                            • Figure 10: Incentives to dine at restaurants, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                          • Addendum: consumer question explanation
                                                                                                                          • Innovation and Innovators: Big Trends Getting Bigger

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Fresh grows up, branches out
                                                                                                                                • Fresh appeal
                                                                                                                                  • Fresh from the farm
                                                                                                                                    • Locavore trend grows, adds dimension
                                                                                                                                      • Comfort food reinvented
                                                                                                                                        • The power of suggestion
                                                                                                                                          • Delivery/pickup/curbside
                                                                                                                                          • Innovation and Innovators: Emerging Trends

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Bring on the booze
                                                                                                                                                • Creative synergy
                                                                                                                                                  • In the spotlight: San Francisco
                                                                                                                                                    • Speakeasies: an illicit touch and pricey drinks may beat recession blues
                                                                                                                                                      • But it’s not just a San Francisco thing
                                                                                                                                                        • Other beverage notes
                                                                                                                                                          • Tap water, please
                                                                                                                                                            • Enter Obama
                                                                                                                                                              • Mediterranean, anyone?
                                                                                                                                                                • Restaurant Focus: Roti
                                                                                                                                                                • Restaurant Usage: An Overview

                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 11: Restaurant usage in past week, selected demographics, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 12: Average amount spent on last visit, by restaurant segment, by household income, April 2007
                                                                                                                                                                  • Types of Restaurants Used

                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                        • Restaurant usage, by segment: an overview
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 13: Types of restaurants visited in the past month, 2008 versus 2009
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 14: Types of restaurants visited in the past month, by age, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 15: Types of restaurants visited in the past month, by household income, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 16: Types of restaurants visited in the past month, by race/ethnicity, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Acculturated versus non-acculturated Hispanics
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 17: Types of restaurants visited among Hispanics, by language spoken in home, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Addendum: consumer question explanation
                                                                                                                                                                          • Restaurant Spending

                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                • Spending at restaurants
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 18: Spending at restaurants compared to last year, by age, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Spending at restaurants compared to last year, by household income, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                • Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending, by household income, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                • Dining Out Rationales

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Experiential/aspirational/social reasons for eating at a restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Experiential/aspirational/social reasons for eating at a restaurant, January 2008 versus November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 22: Experiential/aspirational/social reasons for eating at a restaurant, by gender, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Experiential/aspirational/social reasons for eating at a restaurant, by age, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Specific occasions as reasons for eating at a restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Specific occasions for eating at a restaurant, by gender, January 2008 versus November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Specific occasions for eating at a restaurant, by age, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Specific occasions for eating at a restaurant, by household income, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Reasons for dining out rather than dining in
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Reasons for dining out rather than dining in, January 2008 versus November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Reasons for dining out rather than dining in, by gender, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Reasons for dining out rather than dining in, by age, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Reasons for dining out rather than dining in, by household income, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Important Restaurant Qualities

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cost, location and atmosphere
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Restaurants: importance of cost, location and atmosphere, by age, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Restaurants: importance of cost, location and atmosphere, by HH income, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Restaurant staff attributes
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Restaurants: importance of staff attributes, by gender, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Restaurants: importance of staff attributes, by age, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Food and menu attributes
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Restaurants: importance of food and menu attributes, by gender, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Restaurants: importance of food and menu attributes, by age, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Restaurants: importance of food and menu attributes, by HH income, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Food Qualities at Favorite Restaurant

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by gender, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by age, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by household income, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Segment overlap analysis: who’s eating elsewhere?
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Restaurant segment usage, by restaurant segment, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Consumer spending trends, by restaurant segment
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 42: Restaurant spending trends, by restaurant segment, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by restaurant segment
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by restaurant segment, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Addendum: consumer question explanation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • The economizers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The enthusiasts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Disinterested and Unimpressed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Restaurant user clusters, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Personal attributes, by restaurant user clusters, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Types of restaurants visited in the past month, by restaurant user clusters, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Spending at restaurants compared to last year, by restaurant user clusters, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Incentives to dine at restaurants, by restaurant user clusters, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Dining out rationales, by restaurant user clusters, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by restaurant user clusters, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Important restaurant qualities, by restaurant user clusters, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Restaurant user clusters, by gender, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Restaurant user clusters, by age group, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Restaurant user clusters, by HH income group, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Restaurant user clusters, by race, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Restaurant user clusters, by Hispanic origin, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Additional Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Innovation and Innovators: Incentives to Dine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Incentives to dine at restaurants, by HH income, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Important Restaurant Qualities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cost, location and atmosphere
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Restaurants: importance of cost, location and atmosphere, by gender, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Restaurant staff attributes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Restaurants: importance of staff attributes, by HH income, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer Restaurant Spending
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 60: Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending, by gender, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending, by age, November 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Dining Out Rationales
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Experiential/aspirational/social reasons for eating at a restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Experiential/aspirational/social reasons for eating at a restaurant, by household income, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Custom Consumer Groups
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 63: Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending, by restaurant segment, November 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bloomberg L.P.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Burger King Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Del Taco, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Food Distributors International
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hard Rock Cafe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • International Franchise Association (IFA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • International Hotel and Restaurants Association (IH&RA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • KFC Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • McDonald's Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • National Restaurant Association (NRA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • National Retail Federation (NRF)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Pizza Hut Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rite Aid Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Taco Bell Corp.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Travel Industry Association of America
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • U.S. Department of Agriculture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Winn-Dixie Stores

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Attitudes Towards Dining Out - US - January 2009

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