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Casual Sit-Down Restaurants Top Pick for Consumers

APRIL 2017

In our fast paced life, convenience is key in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to dining outside of the home. Gone are the days of formal restaurant meals, they have been replaced with a range of casual restaurant options that provide meals at the right speed and the right price.

Thanks to these options, dining out is no longer reserved for special occasions, instead it is simply a part of our daily or weekly routine. Curious how often consumers are dining out? What about the cost per meal? Is it really cheaper to eat at home?

Contract Testing recently conducted an extensive survey on consumer restaurant dining trends with over 1,000 participants from across North America.

Here are some of the interesting findings and insights from this survey:

Dining outside of the home is standard these days with the majority of Canadians (85%) purchasing a meal at a restaurant at least once a week. More than a quarter of Canadians are doing so three times a week while 13% do so daily. Americans are slightly more conservative in their dining out habits with 80% visiting restaurants weekly while 31% go three times a week. On a day-to-day basis, Americans are half (6%) as likely as Canadians to dine out.

Price is a key factor in most consumer decisions and dining out is no exception. While consumers are dining out more, they aren’t breaking the bank to do so. Nearly half of American consumers spend an average of $10 (per person) on their restaurant meal, while a quarter spend $15. Only 20% of consumers spend over $20 on a meal outside of the home.
Canadians tend to spend more per person when visiting a restaurant with nearly half (44%) of consumers spending more than $20 on a meal outside of the home.

When it comes to prefered restaurant style, American and Canadian consumers agree that casual sit-down restaurants are their favourite, followed by fast food restaurants in Canada (30%) and mid-range sit-down restaurants in the U.S. (25%). Less than 3% of total consumers prefer formal sit-down restaurants.

Despite their tendency to visit restaurants weekly, three-quarters of Canadians do reserve restaurant dining for special occasions such as birthday and anniversaries. Americans are split down the middle when it comes to saving restaurant dining for those special days.

As a whole, the dining out habits of consumers are changing and the majority are looking for approachable, everyday restaurant options, to meet their consumption demands.

For questions about this research, or how you can leverage consumer taste buds in your business, contact Andrew Scholes at andrew.scholes@contracttesting.com.