NEW YORK AND TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Research released today by TouchBistro finds that despite the pandemic prompting a take-out and delivery boom, diners in the United States and Canada still prefer the on-site dining experience, especially at local restaurants. According to the TouchBistro 2022 Diner Trends Report, 44% of diners currently dine at least once a week or more, while 78% dine at least once a month or more. On the other hand, less than a third (27%) have take-out or delivery at least once a week. Nearly two-thirds (63%) choose independent local restaurants over chains or franchises.
According to the survey conducted by Maru Matchbox on behalf of TouchBistro with more than 2,600 diners from the United States and Canada, the quality of the food is at the forefront when they dine there. Two-thirds (68%) rank food quality as most important. important factor in deciding where to dine, followed by location (66%), customer service (64%), price (62%) and safety/hygiene (61%). Diners rank diet-specific menus (19%), live music/DJs (11%) and QR-code menus (10%) as the least important factors influencing their dining decisions.
“Our research shows that the pandemic has not permanently changed the habits of diners and this is good news for restaurateurs today. While innovations have made it easier to order takeout, it’s clear convenience hasn’t replaced the desire to dine in,” says Samir Zabaneh, CEO of TouchBistro. “Restaurants need to go back to key actions that they know worked before the pandemic and that their customers loved, because they go a long way toward building customers for life.”
How the guests decide
Research reveals that diners follow their cravings when deciding where to eat. The majority (72%) choose where they want to dine based on the type of food they want to eat. In fact, for three-quarters of millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers, the type of food a restaurant offers is their biggest deciding factor.
Whether they’re dining out or ordering takeout, most customers do the exact same thing before ordering: check the restaurant’s menu online. Scanning the menu ahead of time is a cornerstone of today’s eating habits and one of the biggest digital trends in the restaurant business. 84% of restaurant patrons always or often check a restaurant’s menu ahead of time, and 79% always or often check a restaurant’s website.
What keeps guests away
The study reveals that a bad reputation is much more likely to put customers off than high prices. Although the majority of diners are no longer preoccupied with pandemic-related safety protocols, health and hygiene are still very much on the minds of diners. 73% say a recent health inspection warning would deter them from visiting a restaurant, making it the top reason customers avoid certain places.
Distance and negative comments were also major deterrents, with 61% saying a distance of more than 30 miles would keep them away and 59% saying negative comments from a friend would be a major deterrent.
How Guests Engage
There are clear signs that loyalty programs are an untapped asset that could help restaurants generate repeat visits. While only 36% of U.S. customers and 23% of Canadian customers say they are currently part of a restaurant loyalty program, more than three-quarters (86%) of customers have expressed interest in joining a loyalty program if they gave them access to discounts. and coupons for free items. 85% also expressed interest in a rewards program that would allow them to earn free items. And of those who participate in loyalty programs, a third (32%) say they participate in loyalty programs weekly or more often.
Loyalty programs aren’t the only way customers can interact with their favorite restaurants. 50% of customers say email is their preferred way to stay in touch with restaurants. And while email is the most preferred form of communication across generations, 20% of Gen Z customers in the US and 13% in Canada prefer to hear from restaurants via social media.
Emerging Trends from the Diner Report 2022
As diners return to the dining room, other trends are just beginning to take shape. A closer look at the study results reveals hidden trends that will be defining in the years to come.
Moderate sensitivity to menu price: Inflation has soared, making consumers increasingly sensitive to price increases in all aspects of their lives, including on-site dining. For some diners, this means menu price increases could be a major hurdle, with around one in five diners (22%) saying a price increase would have a significant impact on their decision to frequent a restaurant. However, it’s also clear that consumers love restaurants and are willing to make room in their budget to eat there. Nearly half of diners – 45% of Americans and 47% of Canadians – say menu price increases would have only a limited impact on their decision to visit a restaurant, suggesting diners are willing to absorb some menu price increases to enjoy the food they love.
Hidden potential of loyalty programs: Although membership in a restaurant loyalty program is not yet the norm for the majority of diners, a closer look at the data reveals that these programs may be on the verge of a surge in popularity. Young diners and diners who order takeout/delivery are embracing loyalty programs with open arms. In fact, 40% of Gen Z customers and 41% of Millennial customers in the US are already members of a restaurant rewards program, suggesting that younger customers are much more likely to join these. programs and expect them to be part of their daily lives. culinary experience. And among customers who order takeout weekly or more, more than half of US (58%) and Canadian (56%) customers participate in loyalty programs at least once a week.
Request for online ordering innovations: While eating in is the preferred way to visit restaurants, that doesn’t mean takeout and delivery aren’t a vital sales channel for restaurants anymore. On the contrary, 29% of Americans and 25% of Canadians say they always order takeout and delivery at least once a week or more often, which is a huge slice of the restaurant sales pie. Convenience remains the main driver of off-premises orders, while the main deterrent is high delivery costs.
Online influencers and their growing influence: A closer look at Gen Z’s eating habits suggests that social media and online influencers may be playing an increasingly important role in restaurant decisions. 28% of Gen Z said social media influences where they decide to dine, and 39% of Gen Z diners said they tried a new restaurant solely on the recommendation of an online influencer. Instagram seems to be the most influential platform for this generation, but TikTok is on the rise. In the United States, one in five Gen Z customers (21%) turn to TikTok before dining out.
Full report available
The “2022 Diner Trends Report” can be downloaded for free at https://www.touchbistro.com/blog/diner-trends-report/
About Touch Bistro
TouchBistro is an all-in-one POS and restaurant management system that makes running a restaurant easy. TouchBistro is designed to meet the unique needs of the restaurant industry, helping restaurant owners streamline and simplify their operations with the most essential hospitality, back-office and customer engagement solutions on one platform. powerful form. TouchBistro is fast, reliable, and easy to use, and has all the features restaurant owners need to increase sales, deliver great customer experiences, and save time and money. By combining innovative restaurant technology with an unparalleled dedication to customer service and success, TouchBistro has powered more than 29,000 restaurants in over 100 countries and is a global leader changing the way restaurateurs do business. For more information about TouchBistro, visit touchbistro.com.