For family restaurants to succeed this year, operators should focus on convenience and health. Nothing new to us, since this has been pointed out to restaurateurs time and again as we continue to find ways to increase restaurant sales. But market research provider Mintel has a few suggestions worth considering.
Industry analysts say that while the whole restaurant industry experienced a slump in sales last year, it was the family midscale restaurants that have been most affected. Mintel reported that among family restaurant diners in America, 80% of them dined-out less last year because of budget constraints.
There have been predictions that family restaurant performance is expected to decline further in the next years to come, but experts say that this could be thwarted with effective marketing strategies.
“Price positioning alone would not solve the problem when it comes to successful family restaurants sales,” said Eric Giandelone, Mintel’s foodservice director. “We here at Mintel believe that the best way to boost growth is to focus more on value—reasonable prices that would include weighty benefits such as convenience and health.”
Convenience is said to matter a lot to family consumers. While majority of them (57%) enjoy dining at full-service, sit-down restaurants, a lot of families complain that service in these restaurants is characteristically too slow. Since most families are also often occupied during the weekdays, their tendency is to go out only on the weekends when they have plenty of time to spare.
“We suggest the concept of ‘express lunch,’ where family restaurants can attract not just families but also the business crowd,” added Giandelone. “They can also have ‘express family dinners’ where families also get to enjoy sit-down dining experience during their hectic weeknights, but with a significantly faster pace.”
Health, as we know, is equally important to families. The biggest challenge that restaurants now have is how to make healthful menus more enticing to families, in consideration of past experiences where customers ignore healthy menu items offered in restaurant menus in long-lasting menu folders because of its taste. 34% of restaurant diners declared that they find healthy food as an essential factor in choosing a family restaurant to dine-in—it’s just important that the food tastes good, too.
Other than convenience and health, the other restaurant attributes that consumers find important are value for money spent (70%), food that they like (69%), fresh food (60%) and convenient location (59%).
When asked what they want to find more on family restaurants’ menus in superior menu folders, 44% cited fruits as appealing side options and 41% wanted to see varied preparation methods in restaurants’ menus, like grilling.