Food Trucks Have Staying Power, Says Technomic.
A new study by foodservice research firm Technomic reveals good news for mobile food vehicles, as 91 percent of consumers polled who are familiar with food trucks say they view the trend as having staying power and not a passing fad. Only seven percent of consumers who use mobile food vehicles say they expect their frequency of visits to food trucks to decrease over the next year.
"The key for long-term success is getting the non-user to come on board," says Technomic Director Kevin Higar said. "One in five individuals is not aware of or has not seen a food truck, and one-third of individuals who are aware of them still haven't purchased from one."
Once consumers gain exposure, they seem to have very positive impressions of the experience. But, according to Technomic's research, 70 percent of non-users are still hesitant to purchase food from mobile vehicles, which is probably the biggest current growth challenge, Higar said.
Other findings from the Food Trucks Innovation Report include:
• Sixty-one percent of consumers find out about mobile food trucks by "just happening upon them" rather than through social media, though 84 percent of the consumers who do follow food trucks on social media, find a truck at least once a week.
• Three quarters of consumers who have come across mobile trucks located together in a central location make combined food and/or beverage purchases from two or more operators during any given meal occasion.
• Fifty-four percent of respondents said if they not bought from a food truck, a quick-service restaurant would have been their most likely destination.
Hispanic Consumers Seek Authentic Menu Items and Family Dining. A new study by Technomic found that Hispanic consumers place high importance on family dining options and the authenticity of Hispanic menu options when dining out.
"Simply offering a Hispanic-inspired menu item is not enough to attract Hispanic consumers, as more than one third of the consumers in our study actually disagree that the mere presence of Hispanic menu items will encourage them to visit a restaurant," says Technomic Director of Consumer Research Sara Monnette.
"If restaurant operators want to drive additional traffic and build brand loyalty among this rapidly growing and influential consumer group, they must understand their unique needs. Preparing and presenting Hispanic cuisine in an authentic manner, and providing a family-friendly environment are two ways restaurant operators can build relationships with Hispanic consumers."
Hispanic consumers currently comprise 16 percent of the U.S. population and are projected to reach 30 percent by the year 2050, according to Technomic. The demographic currently represents about $1 trillion of spending power in the United States, and is the fastest growing population group in America.
Other findings from the survey include:
• More than a third of acculturated Hispanic consumers (35 percent) report a high level of brand loyalty, saying that they like to visit familiar restaurants and tend to patronize the same few concepts whenever they go out to eat.
• Three in four acculturated Hispanic consumers say they purchase prepared foods at grocery stores once a month or more often, and nearly a third say that they do so at least once a week. More than two out of five Hispanic consumers purchase foodservice options at convenience stores on a monthly basis.
• Roughly two-thirds of Hispanic consumers say the availability of healthy options is important at both limited- and full-service restaurants. Thirty-two percent of acculturated Hispanics say they tend to order healthy items when they visit restaurants, compared to just 23 percent of the general population.