Grocery Shopping Patterns and 2010 Restaurant Menu Trends

In this HealthFocus International study found on yahoo finance, it describes how consumers with incomes over $75,000 have increasing their cost saving habits since April 2009.

Here are some of its findings:

– Eating out less at sit-down restaurants:  4 out of 5 are eating out at sit-down restaurants less, which is up 11%.
– Eating less/fewer meals – 22% of them are actually trying to eat less food or fewer meals, up from 11%.
– Cutting “luxuries” and non-essential items.  Beef, ice cream, chocolate, and desserts are listed as one of the top luxury and expendable items.

As potential guests are cutting back on their food expenses, it only makes each restaurant visit that much more important.  Restaurants most focus their efforts to create a perfect and consistent guest experience.

According this Mintel article, it seems like the restaurant response is focusing on value in 2010, rather than by discounting with $5 deals and other cost focus methods in 2009.  It mentions that simplicity and healthy items are one of the trends.

However, it mentions that the third trend “dining out…in” is that restaurants are going to the guest.  For example, Burger King is selling its fries at retail outlets.  Burger King Fries seems like one of the top expendable categories mentioned in the Health Focus study.  It could easily go under Fast Foods and Frozen Snacks.  I’m not sure how restaurant-retail partnerships would be profitable until a recovery.

Perhaps a way restaurants can provide value in the guest experience is by adding those “luxury” items, which guests have cut out of their grocery budget, back into their restaurant menus, such as beef and chocolate.

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