The Dining Dilemma Report—Top 5 Takeaways & What Restaurant Marketers Can Learn from It

The Report

Epsilon’s ‘Shopper’s Voice’ is North America’s biggest self-reported database with 15 million homes, roughly 2 million new respondents every year, 1.5 million opted-in active email addresses, and 1,000 data points per household. They recently did a field survey based on 2,200 US-based respondents in the 18+ age group between October 9 and November 15 of 2021. The results of this report are fascinating and definitely worth a read.

For those looking for the TLDR version, here are the top 5 takeaways from the report:

1.   The Restaurant Industry Is Bouncing Back

The restaurant industry, which definitely faced some setbacks during the peak of the pandemic, is finally gaining some much-needed respite. Over 95% of diners are now returning back to restaurants in some shape or form, be it curbside pick up, dining out, or ordering in.

With only 40% preferring patio dining, the dine-out demographic seems to be more inclined towards dining indoors than on the patio.

2.   Pickup Is Picking Up

As 32% of people report that they’re now picking up more meals than they were at the beginning of the pandemic, it is safe to say that curbside pickup is gaining popularity. Read on to see how diners are choosing which restaurants they should pick up from.

3.   COVID Concerns? Not Really!

Probably one of the most interesting findings of this report is that the biggest reason people stayed home was not the ‘rona but actually the dough. Over 38% cited wanting to save money as their major reason for staying home, which is far higher than those who chose to stay home due to the fear of contracting COVID. The second-largest reason (37%) was that people preferred homemade meals.

4.   What’s Bringing the Diners Back?

Only a meager 21% of people said that they were ordering from restaurants due to coupons/discounts. A whopping majority of 49% said that the restaurant’s app or website was the chief reason they were ordering food!

However, 65% of them also said that they would consider ordering from a restaurant if they received special discounts from them!

5.   Convenience Is Key

With over 74% indicating that they were likely to order from a restaurant when it is easy to do so, and over 60% preferring easy payment methods, it is safe to say that ease of ordering is the most important factor in retaining patrons and bringing in new ones.

What Can Marketers Learn from This?

  • While discount coupons may not be at the forefront of what’s backing diner decisions, they still have the potential to be one of the most influential factors. So, it may not be wise to do away with them completely.
  • Pickup and indoor dining are outnumbering delivery and patio dining because more people want to get out of the house rather than wait for delivery. The usage of third-party delivery apps is also seeing a decline. It would be wise to devise restaurant marketing strategies with this in mind.
  • With customers gravitating towards places that are nearby and convenient to eat at/order from, targeting demographics based on geographical proximity is a great way to ensure footfall.
  • Focusing on easy-to-use ordering interfaces and payment options in restaurant ads seems to be the smartest way to attract more customers.

For more insights like these about the restaurant industry or many others, contact us today! We’d love to take you out for coffee. Or pizza.