The competitive landscape is shifting. It’s no longer just a battle against big chains and the restaurant next door. Big box retailers are offering low cost, ready-made meals. Online delivery hubs make it easy to order any cuisine type. Online grocers dispatch prepped dishes. Even trendy food trucks have the potential to lure customers away.
While people eat dinner out 20% of the time1, they are no longer just considering restaurants. Restaurant visits stalled from April – June 2016, according to the market research firm NPD Group, Inc.2 At the same time, in-store dining and takeout of prepared foods from grocers has grown nearly 30% since 2008.3
Did you know that:
Consumers rate visits to grocers higher than traditional quick-service restaurants on variety and healthy options.
A growing number of grocery stores provide comfortable, casual seating for in-store dining and some even offer a full-service restaurant.
Understand Your Customer
In order to keep attracting customers and driving revenue, pizzerias should now appeal to their customers’ dining motivations more than ever before. Since dinner is most commonly dined out, accounting for 31% of traffic and 42% of restaurant dollars(1), operators should consider a few key dining habits for the dinner meal:
Nearly 50% – HALF – of all decisions on where to get dinner are made that day.1
During weekdays, convenience is key.4
Top motivations for dining out on weekends are taste, treating oneself and socializing.4 Weekend dining-out decisions are even more last minute than weekday decisions.
How to Win the Dinner Dollar
Make It Impossible for Customers to Resist
Promote your specials close to dinnertime: Use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter close to dinner hours to promote daily specials or just one of the classics. Even better, email coupons for special offers in the afternoon to keep your restaurant top of mind.
Tailor a winning dining experience to your customer: Provide fresh, quality, healthy and varied menu options to ensure you are appealing to diverse groups of customers – millennials, families and seniors as well as weekday and weekend dining. Use engaging photos tagged on social media to remind your customers why your dining experience is unique to them. This also helps create strong word of mouth.
Don’t overlook traditional media like mailers to keep you top of mind. When customers come home for the day, a coupon or enticing menu can make you hard to resist. To help with this, our Solutions@Work team offers numerous mailing programs including menu engineering, layout, and design.
Ensure Their Experience Is Quick and Easy
Offer convenience: Customers are busy – 51% bring home carryout or order delivery rather than eating at a restaurant.4 Highlight the convenience factor your restaurant can offer – to-go specials, fast pickup options, or shorter delivery times keep you competitive with other convenient options.
Simplify pre-ordering: Invest in online and mobile ordering technology, so that customers can quickly order and pick it up on the go. Be sure to promote it if you already have it.
And, of course, always greet customers with a warm welcome and exceptional service.
1 The Path to Consumption, How Customers Choose. The NPD Group, Inc., 2016. 2 Why People Are Dining Out Less. Eater. June 2016. 3 “Millennials are Driving the Rise of Supermarket Foodservice, Reports NPD Group”. Prweb. June 2016. 4 The Why Behind the Dine. Acosta, Inc. Technomic, 2014.