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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Full Service Restaurants - US market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • LSRs are big competition
  • Casual and family midscale restaurants face declining visitation
  • Competition from at-home meals, price and quality concerns create challenges/li>

Covered in this report

Off-premise dining is big business, and FSR operators are just now getting in on the action. Third-party delivery companies and virtual restaurants are making it easier for diners to enjoy the FSR experience at home. These options can help FSRs expand their reach and occasions while competing with the convenience of LSRs.


A preference for at-home cooking and negative quality and value perceptions are key reasons consumers are dining at casual restaurants less often. To better connect with diners, especially the youngest generations, operators much focus on offering high quality, freshly prepared dishes at a competitive price point.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Hannah Spencer, a leading analyst in the Foodservice sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The FSR (full service restaurant) sector continues to be outpaced by more affordable and innovative limited service concepts, especially fast casuals. The casual dining segment remains stagnant, although some operators are showing signs of success by curating fun and engaging on-premise experiences, and investing in quality food as well as takeout and delivery. Looking ahead, the FSR sector must improve their quality and value perceptions to compete with the perceived healthfulness of at-home meals and the convenience of limited service restaurants Hannah Spencer
Foodservice Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • What consumers want and why
          • The issues
            • Casual and family midscale restaurants face declining visitation
              • Figure 1: Year-over-year change in restaurant visitation, November 2019
            • LSRs are big competition
              • Figure 2: Total US revenues and forecast of restaurants and eating places*, by segment share, at current prices, 2019 and 2024
            • Competition from at-home meals, price and quality concerns create challenges
              • Figure 3: Reasons for dining at casual dining restaurants less often, November 2019
            • The opportunities
              • Healthy menu items, value-based offers can increase FSR visitation
                • Figure 4: Full service dining motivators, November 2019
              • Family time and consistency matters
                • Figure 5: Full service dining behaviors, November 2019
              • Attract Gen Z on and off premise
                • Figure 6: Full service dining motivators, by generation, November 2019
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • FSR growth is challenged as LSRs compete on convenience and quality
                • At-home cooking perceived as healthier and is a continued threat
                  • FSRs are more than OK with Boomers
                  • Market Size and Forecast

                    • FSR segment projected to have moderate sales growth
                      • Figure 7: Total US revenues and fan chart forecast of full service restaurants, at current prices, 2014-24
                      • Figure 8: Total US revenues and forecast of full service restaurants, at current prices, 2014-24
                  • Market Breakdown

                    • Casual dining segment is second largest
                      • Figure 9: Share of top 200 restaurant chain sales, 2018
                    • A focus on menu innovation helps some chains grow
                        • Figure 10: Change in sales of top 30 casual and family/midscale chains from 2017-18*
                    • Market Perspective

                      • LSR growth outpaces FSR
                        • Figure 11: Total US revenues and forecast of restaurants and eating places*, by segment share, at current prices, 2019 and 2024
                        • Figure 12: Total US revenues and forecast of restaurants and eating places*, by segment, at current prices, 2019 and 2024
                        • Figure 13: Top 10 fast casual restaurant chain percentage change in sales over prior year, 2018
                      • Two in five consumers plan to cook at home more in 2020
                        • Figure 14: Planned dining out behavior for 2020, October 2019
                    • Market Factors

                      • Focus on Baby Boomers’ evolving needs
                        • Figure 15: Population, by generation, 2014-24
                        • Figure 16: Median household income, by age of householder, 2018
                      • Positive economic conditions help FSRs
                        • Figure 17: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-December 2019
                        • Figure 18: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-November 2019
                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                      • Off premise is big business for FSRs
                        • Midscale operators struggle in a sea of sameness
                          • On-premise technology enables better customer service
                          • What’s Working

                            • Restaurant chains invest in hybrid delivery programs
                              • Figure 19: Outback Steakhouse email “Precious cargo inside,” January 15, 2019
                              • Figure 20: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers email “Get 15% off delivery or to-go!,” January 16, 2019
                            • FSR loyalty programs channel successful LSR loyalty programs
                              • Meal deals for off-peak occasions
                                • Figure 21: Olive Garden email “Try any lunch favorite for just $7.99!,” October 28, 2019
                                • Figure 22: Longhorn Steakhouse email “3 Courses. $12.99,” January 6, 2020
                              • International fine dining cuisines provide inspiration for casual operators
                                • Figure 23: Select fast-growing menu item cuisine types at fine/upscale/gourmet restaurants, Q4 2016-Q4 2019
                            • What’s Struggling

                              • Struggling family midscale chains should take inspiration from segment standouts
                              • What to Watch

                                • AI enhances diners’ on-premise experiences
                                  • Ghost kitchens for FSRs
                                    • More exciting kids meal options
                                      • Figure 24: IHOP’s The Addams Family limited time menu promoted on Facebook, September 2019
                                  • Full Service Dining Chain Advertising Spend

                                    • FSR online ad spend doesn’t always equate to sales gains
                                      • Figure 25: Online advertising spend volume for top 10 full service restaurant chains, January 21, 2019-January 20, 2020
                                      • Figure 26: Online advertising spend share by device for top 10 full service restaurant chains, January 21, 2019-January 20, 2020
                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                    • Casual dining and family midscale visitation is down
                                      • Appeal to parents with more kids meal options
                                        • Don’t forget about Boomers
                                          • FSR customers are looking for a good value
                                          • Restaurant Visitation

                                            • Two thirds of Americans have visited a casual dining restaurant
                                              • Figure 27: Restaurant visitation, November 2019
                                            • Boomers overindex for FSR visitation
                                              • Figure 28: Restaurant visitation by generation, December 2019
                                            • Higher income correlates with higher FSR visitation
                                              • Figure 29: Restaurant visitation by household income, November 2019
                                          • Year-over-year Change in Restaurant Visitation

                                            • Americans are visiting fine dining restaurants more often
                                              • Figure 30: Year-over-year change in restaurant visitation, November 2019
                                            • Urban dwellers drive increase in FSR visitation
                                              • Figure 31: Year-over-year change in restaurant visitation – more, by area, November 2019
                                            • Parents are visiting FSRs more often
                                              • Figure 32: Year-over-year change in restaurant visitation – more, by gender and parental status, November 2019
                                          • Reasons for Dining at Casual Dining Restaurants More Often

                                            • Value and quality are key drivers for increased visitation
                                              • Figure 33: Reasons for dining at casual dining restaurants more often, November 2019
                                            • Older consumers look for value, while younger consumers look for more choices
                                              • Figure 34: Reasons for dining at casual dining restaurants more often, by age, November 2019
                                          • Reasons for Dining at Casual Dining Restaurants Less Often

                                            • At-home cooking is casual dining restaurants’ biggest competition
                                              • Figure 35: Reasons for dining at casual dining restaurants less often, November 2019
                                            • Younger customers are visiting independent restaurants instead
                                              • Figure 36: Reasons for dining at casual dining restaurants less often, by age, November 2019
                                          • Restaurant Segment Associations

                                            • Fast casual and fine dining perceived as trendy, healthy
                                              • Figure 37: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Restaurant segment associations, November 2019
                                              • Figure 38: Restaurant segment associations, November 2019
                                            • Casual dining restaurants need to improve value perception among younger consumers
                                              • Figure 39: Restaurant segment associations – casual dining restaurants, by generation, November 2019
                                          • Full Service Dining Motivators

                                            • Appeal to diners with affordable and healthy meal options
                                              • Figure 40: Full service dining motivators, November 2019
                                            • Price promotions and healthy menu items are strong visitation drivers
                                              • Figure 41: TURF Analysis – Full service dining motivators, November 2019
                                            • Gen Zers are interested in more off-premise options from FSRs
                                              • Figure 42: Full service dining motivators, by generation, November 2019
                                          • Full Service Dining Behaviors

                                            • Family time is central to FSR visitation
                                              • Figure 43: Full service dining behaviors, November 2019
                                            • Fine dining customers value experience over cost
                                              • Figure 44: Full service dining behaviors, by restaurant visitation, November 2019
                                            • Parents may be willing to splurge for a special occasion
                                              • Figure 45: Full service dining behaviors, by parental status, November 2019
                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                            • Data sources
                                              • Sales data
                                                • Fan chart forecast
                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                    • Direct marketing creative
                                                      • Mintel Menu Insights (MMI)
                                                        • Abbreviations and terms
                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                          • Appendix – The Market

                                                              • Figure 46: Total US sales and forecast of restaurants and eating places* market, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                              • Figure 47: Total US sales and forecast of limited service eating places*, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                              • Figure 48: Total US sales and forecast of full service restaurants, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                              • Figure 49: Distribution of generations by race and Hispanic origin, 2019
                                                          • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                            • Correspondence Analysis
                                                              • Methodology
                                                                • TURF Analysis
                                                                  • Methodology

                                                                  About the report

                                                                  This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                  • The Consumer

                                                                    What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                  • The Competitors

                                                                    Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                  • The Market

                                                                    Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                  • The Innovations

                                                                    New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                  • The Opportunities

                                                                    Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                  • The Trends

                                                                    What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                  Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

                                                                  Description