“Imparting a sense of value will be key to encouraging restaurant patronage, be it dine in or takeout, especially in light of increasing grocery costs. Outside of loyalty programs, restaurants can also create value in adjustments to menu items such as offering smaller portions with smaller price tags. Accordingly, full service venues may benefit from adopting the practice of value-items from quick service restaurants. Given that half of the Canadian population is overweight according to Statistics Canada; healthy options such as smaller portions are becoming increasingly important.”
– Carol Wong-Li, Senior Lifestyle Analyst
This report discusses the following key topics:
- Benefits aplenty by leveraging technology
- Getting customers to try a new restaurant and keep them coming back
- Healthy options are a must, though positioning may generate additional eating opportunities
- Celebrating seniors
Canadians are actively engaged with food service venues, with 88% ordering takeout/delivery and 87% dining in at restaurants at least once per month over the summer months leading up to September 2014. The category is well positioned as the cost of food from stores over the past five years (according to Statistics Canada) has been increasing at a faster rate than the cost of food from restaurants, particularly that of fast food and takeout restaurants.
Marketing messages and menu shifts that resonate with consumer needs should help keep Canadians engaged. In particular, full service restaurants may benefit from adopting smaller portion sizes offered at many quick service restaurants. There is a strong desire for restaurant review platforms to provide recommendations based on the venues they like, particularly among those inclined to dine out on impulse (under-45s).
However, Canadians are not consulting online review platforms for restaurants to the same degree that they are for other categories. With less than one-in-ten restaurant patrons providing a restaurant review on a website or mobile app, food service venues should consider ways to encouraging consumers to do so, especially positive ones, to help reinforce the platform as a good resource for diners when looking for restaurants.
Offering small discounts or rewards may also inspire repeat visits. New diners will be looking for perks and discounts to get them in the door and adding a playful spin to loyalty programs could keep customers engaged, make them feel appreciated and may be the key to turning these customers into regular patrons.