How does today’s economy impact the hospitality’s food and drink category? Has it impacted the dining experience? Have patrons changed their frequency of eating? Provoke Insights investigated concerns facing dining establishments in its fifth wave of the consumer trends research.
Economic Impacts on the Restaurant Industry
Prices of services and products are rising across the board, and American consumers are noticing. When it comes to restaurants in particular, over 80% say they have noticed an uptick in the cost of menu items.
Consumers’ wallets (and appetites) are hit hard as inflation is impacting everything from supermarket runs to going out to restaurants. As a result, Americans are cutting down on the amount that they eat out. This is especially true at full-service establishments, where half of Americans are dining less frequently.
When patrons do eat out, almost three-quarters are making budgeting changes to their ordering. Over half are selecting cheaper items (53%), while others are cutting out dessert (42%), appetizers (39%), or drinks (31%).
To combat these concerns, restaurants must take an active approach to attract diners:
- Fast food and fast casual restaurants can offer discounts and promotions to ease the concerns of budget-conscious consumers.
- Fine dining establishments can consider unique offerings and experiences to attract diners, such as live music events, wine tastings, or new technologies.
Menu Availability Impacts on the Restaurant Industry
Inflation is not the only concern for those dining and food and drink establishments. Menu item availability and limited staff are other issues that are impacting dining experience.
Less than thirty percent of consumers are satisfied with menu item availability at restaurants. Many others have experienced being told their selection is sold out for the evening. To avoid these situations, restaurants can create more limited menus or prix-fixe offerings that utilize ingredients that are more assured to be kept in stock. This may mean fewer exotic offerings, but it will prevent customers from feeling frustrated that they can not order their first-choice selection.
Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the fall of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.