U.S. Restaurant Trends

Survey Has Some Bad News for Restaurant Industry - Nation’s Restaurant News

Excerpt from Nation’s Restaurant News

AlixPartners study shows consumers, worried about costs, want to cut back on dining

Frequent users of quick-service and fast-casual restaurants are planning to cut back on their restaurant spending in the coming year, usually because they want to spend their money on something else.

That is the result of a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers by the New York-based consulting firm AlixPartners. The results suggest that sales and traffic challenges that beset the industry in 2016 could be part of a longer-term trend.

"There's a significant percentage of us thinking of their dining dollars differently," said Adam Werner, a managing director with the firm. "You're thinking of dollars you may have allocated toward restaurants and are thinking of spending them in other ways."

Surveys of consumer spending intentions can be tricky, because consumers frequently overstate how much they intend to cut back on spending.

Still, the results offer similar conclusions to other studies suggesting a consumer that is concerned about rising prices in restaurants and is more willing to cut back on restaurantspending in favor of other things.

The survey found that more than half of consumers, 57 percent, plan to dine out the same number of times in the next 12 months that they did last year — the same percentage as a year ago. And these consumers' average spending per meal was $15.38, the highest in the survey's history.

Yet the survey also showed some potential cutbacks, notably diners who frequent quick-service and fast-casual restaurants. Diners plan to cut back on their quick- service usage by 8 percent. And they plan to cut back on fast casual use by 13 percent. 

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