Thursday, May 15, 2014

Restaurant Customer Migration Builds as Families Prefer Mix & Match Meal Components

The fact that 50 percent of the United States population over the age of 18 is single may be a leading factor contributing too continued restaurant customer migration from casual dining chain restaurants to both fast-casual and quick-service outlets.  Bonnie Riggs, NPD foodservice industry analyst thinks that’s only part of the reason.  Riggs recently stated that “Families are eating out less. A lot less”.
Casual dining customer migration began in 2007 had has continued to fall ever since.  The restaurant industry never eager to change was confident that it was simply a temporary economic setback and would rebound.  It has not.  More important there is no indication that consumer want to spend the time or money in fast casual restaurants any time soon.
Entering the seventh year of declines and the latest Knapp Track Index of casual dining same store sales reports that customer traffic fell yet again in April 2014 another 2.4 percent. Riggs stated “ restaurant visits by families with children 13 years and under have been declining since 2008. "We've lost a lot of volume from families with kids," Riggs said. "How do we get them back?"
Riggs continued “that families made about 16 billion visits to restaurants in 2008. Last year, they made about 14.5 billion. That's a substantial decrease. Riggs said that visits declined considerably in 2009 and 2010 and has leveled off ever since.”
According to the NPD Group and Riggs,” Given families' importance to the restaurant sales landscape - they represent 20 percent of all sales, after all—that decline in full-service visits by families goes a long way toward explaining why casual dining has struggled so much.”
Mix & Match meal components are the hallmark of grocerant niche success according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ Steven Johnson.  Regular readers of this blog know Non-traditional fresh prepared food retailers are surprising consumers with new flavor combination or trendy new ingredients, many with the halo of ‘better for you’  and portioned for one or two that can be mixed and matched into a customized family meal for the home without the expense and time of going out.
Wegmans, HEB, Whole Foods, Wawa, Rutter’s Farm Stores and Sheetz all offer fast flavorful meal components that can be bundled into a differentiated quality family meal. Restaurant the ilk of Maggiano's Little Italy Today and Tomorrow specials  and Subway and Olive Garden’s similar specials have helped a lagging industry.  However few have focused on how to compete in an Omni-Channel retail food world long term other than our own Grocerant Guru™.  Outside eyes can drive inside sales and bottom line profits.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment.   

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