Casual Dining - US - October 2010
The casual dining segment has emerged as the poster child for recession-era restaurant industry woes, with the symptoms of declining customer counts and check averages, sales slumps and unit hemorrhaging, and even bankruptcies.
Cash-strapped consumers faced with job losses and tightened budgets have been having a hard time justifying a sit-down meal out when extras such as drinks and tip boost the bill. Instead they are opting to stay home to eat or trade down to quick service and fast casual restaurants that are offering value prices and improved quality.
In reaction, casual dining chains have been quick to offer “deal menus” in attempts to lure in customers, which has ultimately done little to help already tight margins and has created a consumer base that feels entitled to discounts.
This report focuses on how the casual dining segment will need to adapt to grow in the current environment and moving forward, including the following highlights:
- How quick service and fast casual segment players are stealing customers and how to beat them at their own game
- How the “portfolio profit” model can help operators to diversify revenue streams
- The importance of differentiating the segment and highlighting what it can offer that others cannot
- What the impact has been of the “deal menus” and how to diversify the programs to better attract customers and ultimately wean them off the initiatives
- Who the core demographics for the segment are and how to shift focus to address the needs of the changing face of the core customer base
- What differentiates the segment in the eyes of the customer, and what it is that most motivates them to want to eat at a casual dining restaurant
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