Healthy options may bring diners back to restaurants, Mintel finds.
Healthy options may bring diners back to restaurants, Mintel finds. According to a recent Mintel foodservice report, 80% of family restaurant-goers who are eating out less in general are doing so because of financial reasons. While the restaurant industry as a whole spent 2011 in a recessionary slump, the family midscale segment has been the most negatively impacted and the next few years aren't expected to show an upward swing. Due to this and other challenges, family restaurant sales are expected to decline by 7 percent over the next four years.
The challenge for restaurant operators is that historically, "healthy" menu items don't sell well because a healthy item often communicates "no taste." However, a change may be imminent. In fact, 34 percent of restaurant-goers say healthy food is an important factor in selecting a family restaurant. Adding value through convenience is another approach that can benefit this segment. While the majority (75 percent) of consumers enjoy the sit-down, full-service experience, families are more likely to say that service at these restaurants is typically too slow. As a result, families are more likely to save family restaurants for weekend dining, when they have more time. A number of restaurant attributes are cited as important in selecting a family restaurant. Seventy percent of family restaurant patrons say value for their money is most important, followed by menu items they like, fresh food and convenient location (69 percent, 60 percent and 59 percent respectively). When asked what family restaurant goers want to see more of on the menu, 44 percent said fruit as a side option, while 41 percent want different preparation methods, like grilling. These numbers correspond with the importance of healthy menu items being available.