Restaurant value goes beyond price

by Rebekah Schouten
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CHICAGO – For restaurant goers, value isn’t just about money anymore. Almost 80 percent of consumers said “value” is very important in their dining decisions, according to Technomic’s Value & Pricing Consumer Trend Report, but their definition of foodservice value now includes several factors, including service, menu offering quality and overall ambiance.

Price still plays a major part in the equation; the Chicago-based firm’s report indicated that the most influential restaurant deals are “Buy one get one free” and “Half-off specials.” But the foodservice industry has a big opportunity beyond pricing to emphasize the overall dining experience to draw consumers seeking these multidimensional elements of value.

Forty-seven percent of millennials indicated in the report that they are seeking higher-quality fare more now than two years ago. Fifty-three percent of loyalty card holders reported that they are very likely to base their dining decisions on a loyalty membership.

“While food quality remains essential, the overall experience is becoming more important to today’s diners who are looking for fun, social and unique dining occasions,” said Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights. “Service and atmosphere make up about 40 percent of Gen Zers’ and millennials’ value equations at all types of limited- and full-service restaurants. They are looking for experiences they can share — both by connecting with others in the dining party and through social media.”

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