Source: Dining Out: A 2012 Look Ahead report, Mintel Group. Note: Respondents were Internet users aged 18+ who had visited a restaurant in the month prior to participating in the survey.
As part of its 2012 Dining Out Report, Mintel Foodservice asked consumers to choose areas in which they felt restaurants could most improve. Not surprisingly, top of the list for all respondents was lower prices. “Right now it’s difficult for people to look beyond price, and that’s why there’s such a gap between price and other areas,” explains Eric Giandelone, foodservice director. Somewhat surprising was the relatively small percentage of those saying options for locally sourced foods needed improvement. “Overall, only 15% agree that restaurants need to improve in this area, which could mean that they are happy with what’s offered or it’s not on their radar – possibly because they live in areas without a lot of local options,” explains Eric. There are demographic pockets where interest in locally grown is a little higher, including the highest income respondents ($150K+), who were seven percentage points more likely than the average to point to local sourcing as an area for improvement. “It’s important for restaurants that cater to high-income customers to underscore local sourcing efforts,” he advises.
While more men than women wanted higher quality food and ingredients, women seem to have greater health concerns – they are far more interested in smaller portions and healthier options. However, restaurants marketing to older consumers should also consider smaller serving sizes or options. The importance of smaller portions increased with age, the most extreme variation being between the youngest respondents (ages 18-24), of whom 17% placed smaller portions in their top three areas for improvement, and the oldest (65+), of whom almost half (43%) did so. Regardless, says Eric, a desire for smaller portions may be tied to lower prices. Also in the top tier for many were cleaner bathrooms, especially important to lower-income respondents, which points to the potential of a competitive advantage with cleanliness in QSR.