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Enticing diners with dinner values

Dinner business has seen better days. According to a recent Technomic survey, in the last year, 40% of consumers have significantly cut back on away-from-home dinner purchases because they have less money to spend on dining out. When weighing options, consumers look for value-based operations that offer ways to save money while still providing a quality meal. Some specific findings from the survey follow.

  • 71% of consumers skip dinner at least sometimes, citing lack of hunger or eating a late lunch as the reason. This translates into opportunities for operators to offer smaller portions or shareable menu items to boost incremental traffic and sales during the dinner daypart.
  • Operators and suppliers are emphasizing late-night menus by developing a new mix of craveable options to draw customers in after hours. Smaller portions, mix-and-match options and shareable samplers meet the needs of a younger millennial customer base that tends to congregate over food and drinks during the late-night hours.
  • Value is the key positioning for dinner entrees in limited-service restaurants. Lower-priced items that can easily be bundled for a quick and affordable meal for one person or a whole family are the focus for LSR dinner menus.
  • Full-service restaurants are promoting bundled meals at value prices to go for family dinners, emphasizing “premium” as a part of the value equation for entrees.

Source: Technomic’s "Dinner and Late-Night Consumer Trend Report," January, 2012