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Fine Dining - US - April 2009

The restaurant industry as a whole is in a bind. A global recession has patrons eating out less and spending less when they do go out, and fine dining, as a deeper pocket experience, has been especially hard hit. Many establishments have had to shutter their doors and others are seeing steep revenue declines.

This has changed the face of fine dining in many ways. Restaurants are taking extra, previously unthinkable, steps in order to lure in customers – welcoming any and all customers and offering price incentives.

This report offers insights and guidance that will help restaurateurs wade through this tough time and work toward the future, including:

  • How the current economy is impacting where fine diners are cutting back
  • What demographics are the most important to consider, and how to woo them distinctly
  • What pricing promotions work best, including specially priced menus, prix-fixe and wine discounting
  • Ways to give special treatment to reward regulars and recognize the needs of wealthier patrons
  • How to use the slow time to an advantage, through hiring, training and upgrades
  • Why technology has become an essential tool and how to best utilize the various facets to reach out to customers and improve restaurant operations
  • What menu items and cuisine types are working best, and what trends should be followed, currently and going forward

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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

                  • A grim picture for fine dining
                    • Desperate times call for creative measures
                      • Summary of consumer attitudes, behavior and fine dining spend
                        • Restaurant usage, usage frequency and mean use
                          • Fine dining spending patterns
                            • Menu ordering behavior
                              • Important facets of the ideal fine dining experience
                                • Fine dining restaurant decision influencers
                                  • What menu items fine diners eat and want to see more of
                                  • Insights and Opportunities

                                    • Key points
                                      • Reward regular customers
                                        • Eighty-six the attitude
                                          • Invest in the future
                                            • Pork: The one you love (and other less costly cuts)
                                                • Figure 1: Beef, pork and chicken, wholesale prices, 2003-09
                                                • Figure 2: Per capita meat consumption, 2006 and 2008
                                              • Don’t skimp on portions
                                                • Listen to the internet
                                                  • Going green
                                                  • Inspire Insights

                                                      • Trading Up, Trading Down, Trading Over
                                                        • What's it about?
                                                          • What we've seen
                                                            • Prix–fixe a short-term fix
                                                              • Long-term implications
                                                              • Market Drivers

                                                                • Restaurant recession continues
                                                                  • Figure 3: Restaurant Performance Index, current situation, and expectations, November 2007-February 2009
                                                                • Consumer confidence undermines willingness to spend at restaurants
                                                                    • Figure 4: Consumer sentiment index, by quarter, 2001-08
                                                                  • Fine dining: a deeper-pocket experience
                                                                    • Figure 5: Frequency, and incidence of ever going to a fine dining restaurant, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                    • Figure 6: Average price per entrée, fine, casual, and family dining, Q4 2007 and Q4 2008
                                                                  • Travel and business expense account budgets shrivel
                                                                  • Restaurant Analysis: Spotlight on Chicago

                                                                      • Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE)
                                                                        • Flexibility, incentives, and outreach shape current approach
                                                                          • LEYE featured restaurants
                                                                            • Everest: “Personalized French Cuisine”
                                                                              • L2O: “A Modern Seafood Restaurant”
                                                                                • Tru: “Progressive French”
                                                                                  • Joe’s: “Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab”
                                                                                    • Nacional 27: “Modern Latin Restaurant, Ceviche Bar & Salsa Club”
                                                                                      • Morton’s The Steakhouse
                                                                                        • Not a good year
                                                                                          • Current strategies
                                                                                            • Sola
                                                                                              • Strategies
                                                                                              • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Price cuts for prime cuts…
                                                                                                    • Spinning the value proposition
                                                                                                      • Figure 7: McCormick and Schmick’s montage of fresh food and cocktails, TV spot, 2008
                                                                                                      • Figure 8: Ruth’s Chris steaming steak being brought to woman’s table, TV spot, 2008
                                                                                                    • …and wine without whine
                                                                                                      • Small bites and little sips
                                                                                                        • Prix-fixe menus
                                                                                                          • Flexibility
                                                                                                            • Ambience: Rounding out the experience
                                                                                                              • Special service provides an extra added touch
                                                                                                                • SOLS movement (sustainable, organic, local and seasonal)
                                                                                                                  • Ingredients: Thinking outside the box
                                                                                                                    • World flavors
                                                                                                                      • Korean
                                                                                                                        • Spanish on the scene
                                                                                                                          • The ultimate in creativity: Fine dining does comfort food
                                                                                                                          • Restaurant Usage, Usage Frequency and Mean Use

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Fine dining a special occasion event
                                                                                                                                • Figure 9: Frequency, and incidence of ever going to a fine dining restaurant, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Figure 10: Frequency, and incidence of ever going to a fine dining restaurant, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                • Figure 11: Frequency, and incidence of ever going to a fine dining restaurant, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                            • Fine Dining Spending Patterns

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Fine dining expenditures: Younger diners; larger parties but lower spend
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 12: Fine dining mean restaurant spend, per party, per person, by age, 2008 and 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 13: Fine dining mean restaurant spend, per party, per person, by HH income, 2008 and 2009
                                                                                                                                • Menu Ordering Behavior

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Guests ordering fewer extras, yet cocktails hold promise
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 14: Items typically ordered off the menu when fine dining, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 15: Items typically ordered off the menu when fine dining, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 16: Items typically ordered off the menu when fine dining, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Important Facets of the Ideal Fine Dining Experience

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Food quality and physical environs are tops
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 17: “Important” facets of the ideal fine dining experience, 2008 and 2009
                                                                                                                                        • Restaurant qualities and perks
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 18: “Important” facets of the ideal fine dining experience, restaurant qualities and perks, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 19: “Important” facets of the ideal fine dining experience, restaurant qualities and perks, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 20: “Important” facets of the ideal fine dining experience, restaurant qualities and perks, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                        • Food and menu attributes
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 21: “Important” facets of the ideal fine dining experience, food and menu attributes, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 22: “Important” facets of the ideal fine dining experience, food and menu attributes, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                        • Effect of wait staff
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 23: “Important” facets of the ideal fine dining experience, effect of wait staff, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: “Important” facets of the ideal fine dining experience, effect of wait staff, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Fine Dining Restaurant Decision Influencers

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Recommendations from those known personally the greatest influence
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 25: Fine dining restaurant decision influencers, 2008 and 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Reviews, recommendations, and awards
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 26: Fine dining restaurant decision influencers: reviews, recommendations and awards, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Fine dining restaurant decision influencers: reviews, recommendations and awards, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Price, proximity, and incentives
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Fine dining restaurant decision influencers: price, proximity and incentives, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Fine dining restaurant decision influencers: price, proximity and incentives, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Advertisements and exposure
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Fine dining restaurant decision influencers, advertisements and exposure, by age, January 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Fine dining restaurant decision influencers, advertisements and exposure, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                        • What Menu Items Fine Diners Want to See More Of

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Menu items to share and comfort food may provide opportunity
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Menu items fine diners want to see more of, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Menu items fine diners want to see more of, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Cuisine Consumers Order Most

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Italian and Contemporary American cuisines the most popular
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Cuisines fine diners order most, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Cuisines fine diners order most, by age, July 2008
                                                                                                                                                • Cuisines Consumers Want to See More Of

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Opportunity exists to incorporate more exotic ingredients
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Cuisines fine diners want to see more of, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Cuisines fine diners want to see more of, by age, July 2008
                                                                                                                                                    • Fine Dining Entrées and Main Ingredients

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Steak and chicken are leading main ingredients
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Fine dining entrée choices, by main ingredient, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: Fine dining entrée choices, by main ingredient, by HH income, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                      • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                        • 18-34 year old males a prime demographic
                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Restaurant usage, usage frequency and mean use
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Frequency, and incidence of ever going to a fine dining restaurant—males aged 18-34, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                              • Fine dining spending patterns
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Fine dining mean restaurant spend, per party, per person, by age—males aged 18-34, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                • Menu ordering behavior
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Items typically ordered off the menu when fine dining—males aged 18-34, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                  • Important facets of the ideal fine dining experience
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: “Important” facets of the ideal fine dining experience—males aged 18-34, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Fine dining restaurant decision influencers
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Fine dining restaurant decision influencers—males aged 18-34, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • What menu items fine diners want to see more of
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Menu items fine diners want to see more of—males aged 18-34, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                        • Cuisines consumers order most
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Cuisines fine diners order most—males aged 18-34, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                          • Cuisines consumers want to see more of
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 47: Cuisines fine diners want to see more of—males aged 18-34, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                          • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                              • Generous, gregarious, guzzling Grecophiles
                                                                                                                                                                                • Budgeting, tee-totaling, home-bodies
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Complacent and unadventurous
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 48: Fine dining clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Frequency, and incidence of ever going to a fine dining restaurant, by fine dining clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Fine dining mean restaurant spend, per party, per person, by fine dining clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Items typically ordered off the menu when fine dining, by fine dining clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: “Important” facets of the ideal fine dining experience, by fine dining clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Fine dining restaurant decision influencers, by fine dining clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Menu items fine diners want to see more of, by fine dining clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Cuisines fine diners want to see more of, by fine dining clusters, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Fine dining clusters, by gender, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Fine dining clusters, by age group, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Fine dining clusters, by income group, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Fine dining clusters, by race, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Fine dining clusters, by Hispanic origin, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Bloomberg L.P.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Coca-Cola Company (The) (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Flickr
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Food Distributors International
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                                                  • International Air Transport Association
                                                                                                                                                                                  • 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)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                                                                                  • National Chicken Council
                                                                                                                                                                                  • National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • National Restaurant Association (NRA)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • National Retail Federation (NRF)
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Patina Restaurant Group LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
                                                                                                                                                                                  • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Fine Dining - US - April 2009

                                                                                                                                                                                  £3,174.67 (Excl.Tax)