A new survey finds that 44% of diners currently eat at restaurants at least once a week./Photo: Shutterstock
Meal-to-go has skyrocketed during the pandemic, but now customers are returning to restaurants for dinner. And when they choose their dining destination, the quality of the food is a top priority.
That’s one of the findings revealed in the TouchBistro 2022 Diner Trends Report released Wednesday.
Of the 2,600 diners surveyed for the report, 68% consider food quality the most important factor in deciding where to dine. Location, customer service and price follow closely, with 66%, 64% and 62% respectively.
Eating at local and independent restaurants is also a priority; 63% of respondents prefer them over chains and franchises.
Decision making in restaurants is also influenced by cravings, regardless of dinner demographics. The survey found that three-quarters of Millennials, Generation Xers and Boomers choose a restaurant based on the type of food they want to eat.
But Gen Z is more likely to be influenced by social media and Instagram influencers; 39% of respondents in this group say they have tried a new restaurant solely on the recommendation of an influencer. While Instagram still reigns supreme, TikTok is on the rise with 21% of Gen Zers checking out this platform before dining out.
Posting a tempting menu online is definitely a plus for all generations as 84% of diners browse the menu in advance and 79% view a restaurant’s website before visiting.
While inflation has pushed up menu prices, higher prices aren’t necessarily a turn off. Forty-five percent of Americans say menu price increases will only slightly influence their decision to visit a restaurant. suggesting diners are willing to absorb some price increases to enjoy the foods they love.
A bad reputation is more likely to drive a diner away from a restaurant. And 73% of respondents would be put off by a negative assessment from the health inspectorate.
Chains are more likely than independent restaurants to offer loyalty programs, but indies could benefit from this incentive, according to the report. More than three quarters (86%) of diners expressed an interest in joining a loyalty program if it gave them access to discounts and coupons for free items.
TouchBistro is a restaurant management system that integrates POS, customer engagement solutions and other operational functions on a single platform. The company partnered with Maru Matchbox to conduct the survey of 2,600 diners in the US and Canada.
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