CHICAGO – Restaurant customers are beginning to see the price of deals offered at restaurants over a length of time as regular pricing and deals are no longer driving traffic, according to The NPD Group.
NPD said restaurant visits on a deal were down 3 percent during the year ended December 2012 compared with the previous year. The decrease mainly was attributed to combo meals and value meal item offers. Visits including coupons, buy-one-get-one and discounted prices were up. NPD said the difference between deal and non-deal checks is not significantly different.

“Deals and special offers definitely influence restaurant visits, and if it weren’t for deals during the recession the industry would have fared much worse, but some of the deals being offered today aren’t resonating with consumers,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “Considering current consumer sentiment and their continuing frugality, the deals that have historically appealed to customers need to be re-engineered and the next generation of deals introduced.”

During the recession deals and special offers drove restaurant traffic with visits on a deal up 5 percent and non-deal traffic down 1 percent in 2008. In 2009, deal traffic was up 3 percent and non-deal traffic was down 4 percent. Yet in 2012 restaurant deal visits were down 3 percent while non-deal traffic was up 2 percent.