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Attitudes Towards Dining Out - US - January 2010

More than a year after the collapse of Wall Street and in the throes of the recession, the restaurant industry has yet to stop its decline. The industry faces its greatest challenge in decades, as consumers re-learn how to save their discretionary dollars. In this report, Mintel looks at trends inspired by the current economic climate and how consumer attitudes are shifting as the nation continues to struggle.

Analysis and insights offered include:

  • What economic indicators foretell for the industry
  • What kind of competition is driving pricing pressure and how far it has spread
  • Which foods appeal most to the stressed-out consumer
  • What innovations are making hesitant consumers spend anyway
  • Which demographics are spending more on restaurants than last year
  • Which motivations for dining out are most robust
  • Which food qualities are most important on the menu
  • Which types of promotions attract the most attention

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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
                • Terms
                • Executive Summary

                  • Restaurant industry decline eases slightly; uncertain economic recovery ahead
                    • Alternatives to dining out appeal to good financial sense
                      • Pricing pressure continues to spread
                        • Food trends cover comfort, health and intrigue
                          • Innovations appeal to value shoppers who will pay for convenience and quality
                            • Weekly restaurant usage for lunch and dinner still reported by two-thirds of respondents
                              • Majority of respondents still cutting back
                                • Trading down stabilizes thanks to aggressive price promotions
                                  • Motivations weaken for dining out but special occasions hold up
                                    • Diners seek a comfortable dining experience that reminds them of home
                                      • Fresh and safe ingredients remain consumers’ primary concern
                                        • Simple promotional discounts attract the most respondents
                                          • Asian demographic likes upscale and uses restaurants more frequently
                                          • Insights and Opportunities

                                            • Building brand equity still essential while lowering prices
                                              • Increasing the perceived value of takeout
                                                • “Fresh” and “homemade” are more effective shown, not just described
                                                  • A focus on younger high-frequency diners overlooks Boomer buying power
                                                      • Figure 1: Population by age, 2005-15
                                                  • Inspire Insights

                                                      • Inspire trend: Value of Experience
                                                        • “Cheap” isn’t most important to dining-out consumers
                                                          • Supporting evidence
                                                            • Figure 2: Panera Bread Co. financials in $millions over the past three years
                                                            • Figure 3: Importance of restaurant qualities, October 2009 and November 2008
                                                          • Implications
                                                            • Inspire trend: Dinnertainment
                                                              • Contribute to the amusement and imagination of patrons
                                                                • Supporting evidence
                                                                  • Implications
                                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                                    • Consumer confidence undermined by high unemployment and foreclosures
                                                                        • Figure 4: Consumer confidence and U.S. unemployment rate, 2008-09
                                                                      • Decline in revolving credit puts pressure on extra expenditures
                                                                        • Figure 5: Outstanding consumer credit, 2008-09
                                                                      • Contraction of restaurant industry shows little sign of slowing
                                                                          • Figure 6: Restaurant performance index, September 2008-November 2009
                                                                        • Cutbacks also mean fewer extended trips away from home
                                                                        • Competitive Context

                                                                          • Recession drives consumers to spend more on food at home
                                                                              • Figure 7: Share of at-home and away from home food spending, 2004-08
                                                                            • Higher price inflation for food away from home in 2009
                                                                              • Consumers find value in foodservice channels with no dine-in option
                                                                                • Supermarkets
                                                                                  • Convenience stores
                                                                                    • Sales of frozen meals stable but suffer from negative perception
                                                                                      • Restaurant brands extended to retail channels
                                                                                      • Price Promotions

                                                                                        • Pricing pressure moves into the breakfast daypart
                                                                                          • Aggressive price wars seen in casual dining sector as well
                                                                                            • Five dollar price point reaches premium dining sector
                                                                                            • Innovations and Innovators: Food Trends

                                                                                              • Consumers want the comfort of home even when dining out
                                                                                                • Comfort foods
                                                                                                  • Homemade from scratch or “restaurant grown”
                                                                                                      • Figure 8: “Fresh” ingredient claims on restaurant menus, Q3 2005-Q3 2009
                                                                                                    • Chefs bring faraway flavor to the “staycation” diner
                                                                                                      • American regional
                                                                                                        • International
                                                                                                          • Continued focus on health
                                                                                                              • Figure 9: Incidence of superfruit (pomegranate, blueberry, mangosteen, goji, açaí) flavors, ingredients, etc. on restaurant menus, by segment, Q3 2006-Q3 2009
                                                                                                            • Chefs get creative with less expensive ingredients
                                                                                                            • Innovation and Innovators: Emerging Trends

                                                                                                              • McDonald’s trades up with premium burger
                                                                                                                • And it’s a coffeehouse too…
                                                                                                                  • Box office success gives rise to new restaurant segment
                                                                                                                    • Self-service takes convenience to next level
                                                                                                                      • Food entertainment becomes a trend source
                                                                                                                      • Restaurant Usage by Daypart

                                                                                                                        • Two-thirds of respondents used a restaurant for dinner in the last week
                                                                                                                          • Figure 10: Restaurant usage by daypart, October 2009
                                                                                                                        • Under-35s more likely to use restaurants for lunch and dinner
                                                                                                                          • Figure 11: Restaurant usage by daypart, by age, October 2009
                                                                                                                        • Usage trends with household income but not frequency
                                                                                                                          • Figure 12: Restaurant usage by daypart, by household income, October 2009
                                                                                                                        • Children in the household increases chances of restaurant usage
                                                                                                                          • Figure 13: Restaurant usage by daypart, by children in the household, October 2009
                                                                                                                      • Types of Restaurants Used

                                                                                                                          • Trading down stabilizes, thanks to aggressive price promotions
                                                                                                                            • Figure 14: Types of restaurants used, 2007, 2008 and 2009
                                                                                                                          • QSRs show broad age appeal while pizza and fast casual restaurants skew younger
                                                                                                                            • Figure 15: Types of restaurants used, by age, October 2009
                                                                                                                          • Children drive respondents to fast food, pizza, and family restaurants
                                                                                                                            • Figure 16: Types of restaurants used, by children in the household, October 2009
                                                                                                                          • Addendum: Consumer question explanation
                                                                                                                          • Changes in Restaurant Spending

                                                                                                                            • Majority of respondents are still reducing restaurant spending
                                                                                                                              • Figure 17: Spending at restaurants compared to last year, November 2008 and October 2009
                                                                                                                            • Under-35s more likely to be spending more than last year
                                                                                                                              • Figure 18: Spending at restaurants compared to last year, by age, October 2009
                                                                                                                            • Middle household income groups even more likely to be spending less than last year
                                                                                                                              • Figure 19: Spending at restaurants compared to last year, by household income, October 2009
                                                                                                                            • Families with more than one child more likely to cut back
                                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Spending at restaurants compared to last year, by household size, October 2009
                                                                                                                          • Ways Consumers Spend Less

                                                                                                                            • Reducing frequency of dining out is a more popular way to cut back
                                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending, November 2008 and October 2009
                                                                                                                              • Under-35s more likely to maintain frequency of visits but spend less
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending, by age, October 2009
                                                                                                                              • Dining Out Rationales

                                                                                                                                  • Experiential/Social motivations: Weaker in general
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Experiential/social reasons for eating at a restaurant, November 2008 and October 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Higher earners more likely to dine out for social reasons
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Experiential/social reasons for eating at a restaurant, by household income, October 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Specific occasions: Less frequent but more robust motivations for dining out
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Specific occasions for eating at a restaurant, by age, October 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Practical: Laziness on the decline but convenience factor still important
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Practical reasons for dining out rather than dining in, January 2008, November 2008 and October 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Under-45s and over $100K most likely to eat out for convenience
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Practical reasons for dining out rather than dining in, by age, October 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Practical reasons for dining out rather than dining in, by household income, October 2009
                                                                                                                                • Important Restaurant Qualities

                                                                                                                                    • Diners seek comfort in dining out and expect more from the experience
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Importance of restaurant qualities, November 2008 and October 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Younger diners prioritize price while older diners appreciate the nuance
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Importance of restaurant qualities, by age, October 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Highest HH income group places more importance on quality of restaurant staff
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Importance of restaurant qualities, by household income, October 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Food Qualities at Favorite Restaurant

                                                                                                                                    • Fresh and safe ingredients are the primary concern
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, November 2008 and October 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Females are more concerned about healthfulness and ingredients
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by gender, October 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Fresh and safe more important than organic even among under-35s
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by age, October 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Respondents with children want larger portions
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by children in the household, October 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Dining Incentives

                                                                                                                                    • Simple promotions work best, especially for over-45s
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 36: Incentives to dine at restaurants, by age, October 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Higher earners more attracted by incentives
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Incentives to dine at restaurants, by HH income, October 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Race/Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                    • Asians respondents eat out more and are attracted to upscale concepts
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Restaurant usage by daypart, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Types of restaurants visited, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Experiential/social reasons for eating at a restaurant, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Blacks and Hispanics attracted more by large portions
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                      • Responders
                                                                                                                                        • Contemplators
                                                                                                                                          • Disregarders
                                                                                                                                            • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Dining out clusters, October 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Meal type by dining out clusters, October 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Restaurant type ,by dining out clusters, October 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Dining incentives, by dining out clusters, October 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Restaurant qualities, by dining out clusters, October 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 47: Dining out clusters, by gender, October 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 48: Dining out clusters, by age group, October 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 49: Dining out clusters, by household income group, October 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 50: Dining out clusters, by race, October 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 51: Dining out clusters, by Hispanic origin, October 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                            • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                              • Single parents and younger males more likely to spend more
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Spending at restaurants compared to last year, by marital status and children in the household, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Spending at restaurants compared to last year, by gender and age, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Characteristics of respondents spending more
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Restaurant usage by daypart, by change in spending from last year, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Types of restaurants used, by change in spending from last year, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Experiential/social reasons for eating at a restaurant, by change in spending from last year, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Practical reasons for dining out rather than dining in, by change in spending from last year, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Importance of restaurant qualities, by change in spending from last year, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by change in spending from last year, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Incentives to dine at restaurants, by change in spending from last year, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Appendix: Additional Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                  • Restaurant usage by daypart
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Restaurant usage, by daypart, by gender, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Types of restaurants used
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: Types of restaurants used, by household income, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Changes in restaurant spending
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Spending at restaurants compared to last year, by gender, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Ways consumers spend less
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 64: Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending, by gender, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 65: Ways consumers have cut down on restaurant spending, by household income, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Dining out rationales
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: Experiential/social reasons for eating at a restaurant, by gender, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 67: Specific occasions for eating at a restaurant, by household income, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 68: Practical reasons for dining out rather than dining in, by gender, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Important restaurant qualities
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Importance of restaurant qualities, by gender, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Food qualities at favorite restaurant
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 70: Food qualities at favorite restaurant, by household income, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Dining incentives
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 71: Incentives to dine at restaurants, by gender, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                  • Boston Market Corporation
                                                                                                                                                  • Burger King Corporation
                                                                                                                                                  • California Pizza Kitchen Inc.
                                                                                                                                                  • ConAgra Foods, Inc
                                                                                                                                                  • Domino's Pizza LLB
                                                                                                                                                  • Dunkin' Brands
                                                                                                                                                  • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                  • Food Distributors International
                                                                                                                                                  • Fuddruckers, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                  • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                  • 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)
                                                                                                                                                  • Jamba Juice Company
                                                                                                                                                  • KFC Corporation
                                                                                                                                                  • Kraft Foods Inc. (U.S.A.)
                                                                                                                                                  • McDonald's Corporation
                                                                                                                                                  • National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR)
                                                                                                                                                  • National Restaurant Association (NRA)
                                                                                                                                                  • National Retail Federation (NRF)
                                                                                                                                                  • Panera Bread Company
                                                                                                                                                  • Pizza Hut Inc
                                                                                                                                                  • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                                                  • Subway
                                                                                                                                                  • Taco Bell Corp.
                                                                                                                                                  • Travel Industry Association of America
                                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
                                                                                                                                                  • Unilever USA

                                                                                                                                                  Attitudes Towards Dining Out - US - January 2010

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