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Casual Dining - US - August 2012

Mintel’s consumer survey finds that 52% of respondents visited a casual dining restaurant for lunch and 69% of respondents visited a casual dining restaurant for dinner in the last month. Party size and check average varied by daypart with lunch bringing in an average of $12.66 per person, while consumers paid an average of $17.30 per person for dinner.

In this report, Mintel presents industry trends centered on casual dining restaurants. The report will incorporate proprietary research featuring menu analysis and consumer data regarding attitudes and behaviors toward casual dining, revealing strategic insights and actionable opportunities for operators.

Among the topics covered in this report are:

  • What is driving the casual dining market, as well as the current market size and future projections
  • Marketing strategies across many advertising mediums
  • Menu and pricing promotions in the casual dining segment
  • Menu trends over the past three years covering multiple dayparts and menu sections
  • Consumer ordering behavior including brand, mode, party size, check average, and cuisine type
  • Data revealing consumer’s casual dining preferences and what influences their purchase decisions
  • Usage group breakdowns by demographic and the corresponding attitudes and behaviors for each major demographic group

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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

                        • The market
                          • Figure 1: U.S. casual dining sales and fan chart forecast of market, at current prices, 2007-17
                        • Market drivers
                          • Figure 2: Consumer sentiment, January 2007-June 2012
                        • Competitive context
                          • Marketing strategies
                            • Menu trends
                              • Figure 3: Top 10 cuisine types on casual dining menus, by incidence, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                              • Figure 4: Top 10 nutritional claims on casual dining menus, by incidence, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                            • Casual dining patterns
                              • Figure 5: Food delivery methods, April 2012
                            • Consumer attitudes
                              • What we think
                              • Issues in the Market

                                  • How can casual dining restaurants improve?
                                    • How do gender differences affect casual dining preferences?
                                      • How can casual dining restaurants attract younger consumers?
                                        • Can casual dining restaurants appeal to all income levels?
                                        • Insights and Opportunities

                                          • Rebranding
                                            • Value wars waged at lunch
                                              • Focusing on Cocktails
                                                • Menu innovation
                                                  • Technology
                                                    • Tabletop devices
                                                      • My Friday’s Tab
                                                      • Inspire Insights

                                                          • Trend: Let’s Make A Deal
                                                            • Trend: Life—An Informal Affair
                                                              • Trend: 2015 Access Anything, Anywhere
                                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Market size insight
                                                                    • Sales and forecast of market
                                                                      • Figure 6: Total U.S. retail sales and forecast of market, at current prices, 2007-17
                                                                      • Figure 7: Total U.S. retail sales and forecast of market, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2007-17
                                                                    • Fan chart forecast
                                                                        • Figure 8: U.S. casual dining sales and fan chart forecast of market, at current prices, 2007-17
                                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Disposable personal income showed marginal growth
                                                                          • Figure 9: Real disposable personal income, January 2007-May 2012
                                                                        • Unemployment has fallen flat
                                                                          • Figure 10: Unemployment and underemployment rates, January 2007-June 2012
                                                                        • Consumer sentiment declines
                                                                          • Figure 11: Consumer sentiment, January 2007-June 2012
                                                                        • Restaurants have increased scope of focus
                                                                          • Government legislation
                                                                            • Health and healthful eating
                                                                              • Figure 12: Age-adjusted prevalence of being overweight, obese, or extremely obese, among adults aged 20 or older, 1988-2010
                                                                            • Meeting the needs of young and old consumers
                                                                            • Competitive Context

                                                                              • Competitive overview
                                                                                • Retail grocery
                                                                                  • Quick serves’ unexpected rise
                                                                                    • Trading down to fast casuals
                                                                                      • Happy hours enter the competition for casual dining
                                                                                      • Featured Companies

                                                                                        • Applebee’s
                                                                                          • Cheesecake Factory
                                                                                            • Olive Garden
                                                                                              • P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
                                                                                                • Rosa Mexicano
                                                                                                • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                    • Overview of the brand landscape
                                                                                                      • Television ads
                                                                                                        • Applebee’s
                                                                                                          • Figure 13: Applebee’s, television ad, 2012
                                                                                                        • Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant
                                                                                                          • Figure 14: Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant, television ad, 2012
                                                                                                        • BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
                                                                                                          • Figure 15: BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, television ad, 2012
                                                                                                        • Chili’s Grill and Bar
                                                                                                          • Figure 16: Chili’s Grill and Bar Restaurant, television ad, 2012
                                                                                                        • Romano’s Macaroni Grill
                                                                                                          • Figure 17: Romano’s Macaroni Grill, television ad, 2012
                                                                                                        • T.G.I. Friday’s
                                                                                                            • Figure 18: T.G.I. Friday’s, television ad, 2012
                                                                                                          • Print advertising
                                                                                                            • Social media
                                                                                                              • Applebee’s
                                                                                                                • Chili’s
                                                                                                                  • Olive Garden
                                                                                                                    • P.F. Chang’s
                                                                                                                      • Red Lobster
                                                                                                                        • T.G.I. Friday’s
                                                                                                                        • Menu Analysis: Casual Dining Menus

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Traditional American dishes appear most on casual dining menus
                                                                                                                                • Figure 19: Top 10 casual dining menu item cuisine, by incidence, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                                                                                                                              • California and BBQ dishes are the most expensive menu items
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Top 10 casual dining menu items, by price, Q2 2009 - Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                • Steak sets casual dining restaurants apart from limited-service operators
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Top 10 casual dining menu items, by incidence, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Steak holds the highest ticket price and helps to increase check averages
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 22: Top 10 casual dining menu items, by price, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Menu Analysis: Marketing the Casual Dining Menu

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Freshness is by far the most common marketing claim on menus
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Top 10 ingredient marketing claims on casual dining menus, by incidence, Q2 2009 - Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                        • Juicy, tender, and signature marketing claims bring the highest prices
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 24: Top 10 ingredient marketing claims on casual dining menus, by price, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                          • Nutritional claims surrounding diets and allergens show greatest increases
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 25: Top 10 ingredient nutritional claims on casual dining menus, by incidence, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                            • Higher prices for nutritional claims surrounding current health trends
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Top 10 ingredient nutritional claims on casual dining menus, by incidence, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                          • Menu Analysis: Casual Dining Beverage Menus

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Alcoholic beverages: margaritas, cocktails and microbrews are trending
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Top 10 alcoholic beverages on casual dining menus, by incidence, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                                • Non-alcoholic beverages: lemonade may be replacing tea
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Top 10 non-alcoholic beverages on casual dining menus, by incidence, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                                • Menu Analysis: Casual Dining Kids’ Menu

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Chicken fingers lead kids’ menu items, and corn dogs have grown the most
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Top 10 kids’ menu items on casual dining menus, by incidence, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                                      • Multitier pricing accommodates steak and grilled cheese options
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Top 10 kids’ menu items on casual dining menus, by price, Q2 2009-Q2 2012
                                                                                                                                                    • Casual Dining Restaurant Usage

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Applebee’s, Olive Garden, and Chili’s are high for lunch and dinner usage
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Restaurant usage by daypart, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                        • Men and women show equal usage of casual restaurants for dinner
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Restaurant usage by daypart – lunch, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Restaurant usage by daypart – dinner, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                        • Older consumers show a decreased usage of casual dining for dinner
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Restaurant usage by daypart – lunch, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Restaurant usage by lunch – dinner, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                        • Usage tends to peak and over index for the $75K-99.9K income group
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Restaurant usage by daypart – lunch, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Restaurant usage by lunch – dinner, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                      • Check Average and Party Size

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Average spend per person for dinner is $4.64 higher than lunch
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Check average and party size, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Women dine in larger groups during both lunch and dinner
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Check average and party size – lunch, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 40: Check average and party size – dinner, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Consumers aged 35-44 spend the most per person for lunch and dinner
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Check average and party size – lunch, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 42: Check average and party size – dinner, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • The $75K-99.9K group has the highest lunch party size and check average
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Check average and party size – lunch, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Check average and party size – dinner, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                        • Food Delivery Methods

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Consumers dine-in 73% of the time, while using pick-up 19% of the time
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Food delivery methods, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                            • Older consumers dine-in most, while younger consumers use pick-up, too
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Food delivery methods, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                            • Lower-income consumers are more likely to use to-go services
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 47: Food delivery methods, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Changes in Consumer Behavior

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • Consumers show similar behavior compared to last year
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Change in dining behavior, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Women look to deals and BFY, while men spend more and try ethnic items
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Change in dining behavior – more than last year, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                  • Younger consumers are increasing restaurant use, but are value oriented
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Change in dining behavior – more than last year, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                    • Lower-income consumers trading down more, while affluent increase BFY
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: Change in dining behavior – more than last year, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                    • Cuisine Type Preferences

                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                        • Contemporary American leads current ordering preferences at 29%
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Cuisine preferences, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                        • Interest in Contemporary American and Seafood increase with age
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Cuisine preferences, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                      • Desired Improvements

                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                          • Overall desire for value and BFY items, with men over indexing in salad bars
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Consumer desired improvements, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                          • Young consumers seek social foods, while older consumers look to health
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Consumer desired improvements, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                          • Lower-income consumers desire all you can eat, while affluent want LTOs
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 56: Consumer desired improvements, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                          • Brand Decision Factors

                                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                              • Price and menu variety are the greatest factors used to pick restaurants
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Factors influencing restaurant decision – any influential, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Younger consumers rely on recommendations and online reviews
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 58: Factors influencing restaurant decision – any influential, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Lower-income consumers are most influenced by to-go services
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 59: Factors influencing restaurant decision – any influential, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer Attitudes Toward Casual Dining

                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                • Females use CDRs to socialize, and males don’t mind eating alone
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Attitudes toward casual dining restaurants, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • The 18-34 group uses CDRs for dates and to visit with friends
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Attitudes toward casual dining restaurants, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Low-income consumers plan ahead, and the affluent seek bold flavors
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Attitudes toward casual dining restaurants, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Usage Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Defining usage group demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lunch
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Dinner
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Suggested improvements
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Consumer desired improvements, by lunch, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Consumer desired improvements, by dinner, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand decision factors
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Factors influencing restaurant decision – any influential, by lunch, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Factors influencing restaurant decision – any influential, by dinner, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Consumer attitudes
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Attitudes toward casual dining restaurants, by lunch, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Attitudes toward casual dining restaurants, by dinner, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Additional charts
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Restaurant usage by daypart – lunch, by lunch usage groups, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: Restaurant usage by daypart – dinner, by lunch usage groups, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 71: Restaurant usage by daypart – lunch, by dinner usage groups, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Restaurant usage by daypart – dinner, by dinner usage groups, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Restaurant usage by daypart – lunch, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 74: Restaurant usage by daypart – lunch, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 75: Restaurant usage by daypart – lunch, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 76: Restaurant usage by daypart – lunch, by dinner, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 77: Restaurant usage by daypart – dinner, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 78: Restaurant usage by daypart – dinner, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 79: Restaurant usage by daypart – dinner, by household income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 80: Restaurant usage by daypart – dinner, by lunch, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 81: Check average and party size – lunch, by lunch, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 82: Check average and party size – dinner, by dinner, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 83: Cuisine preferences, by lunch, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 84: Cuisine preferences, by dinner, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 85: Food delivery methods, by lunch, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 86: Food delivery methods, by dinner, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 87: Change in dining behavior – more than last year by lunch, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 88: Change in dining behavior – more than last year by dinner, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Applebee's International Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • BMW of North America, LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • National Restaurant Association (NRA)
                                                                                                                                                                                              • P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • SAM's Club
                                                                                                                                                                                              • TGI Friday's
                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated
                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Salvation Army
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Weight Watchers International Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Casual Dining - US - August 2012

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