INSIGHTS 5/5: PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER

It’s here – the fifth and final part of our five-part insights series. In it, we look at what we’ve learned from the enlightening independent research we recently commissioned.

If you haven’t yet checked out the previous pieces, make sure you delve into them. Parts one to four shed plenty of light on why customers choose to dine at a specific restaurant – and perhaps more importantly, what keeps them going back. Here’s what you can expect, at a glance:

PART 1: Trying somewhere new and going back
PART 2: Eating out changing behaviour
PART 3: Latest Trends in Eating Out
PART 4: Researching Where to Eat
PART 5: Pulling It All Together

Quality, service and value are key

This research contains a number of factors, and different age groups have different priorities. Caterers can help keep prospective customers walking through their doors by understanding what they expect, and learning what each demographic feels is vital to their dining experience.

When deciding where to eat, quality, service and value matter the most to diners, with a convenient location also coming near the top of the list.

Dining decisions: summary by age group

Here are a few of the key takeaways from our research, ordered by age group to help you best target your customers:

18-24s

  • The 18-24 age category is more likely to base their decisions on convenience and the accessibility of online menus
  • Food quality is less important, and they enjoy eating a wider variety of cuisines
  • Promotions are a key driver when it comes to trying new places to eat.

25s-34s

  • Eating out regularly, the 25-34 age bracket enjoys trying somewhere new
  • They’re most likely to have eaten out in a fine dining restaurant
  • They’re heavy Instagram users and will often Google nearby places.

35s-44s

  • This age group more commonly eats out with their partner and kids
  • They try hard to move towards eating a healthier diet, which can help influence eateries’ menu offering
  • Visiting websites prior to a visit, an easy-to-navigate online presence is key
  • They’re also keen Facebook users
  • They’re likely to read and leave restaurant reviews.

45s-54s

  • Huge convenience-seekers, the 45-54 age group relies heavily on word of mouth recommendations
  • They’re also over-index for visiting chain cafes
  • They’re active Facebook users, but are less likely to share relevant posts or info.
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55s-64s

  • With a penchant for traditional, British fayre, the 55-64 age bracket are also most likely to be actively reducing their meat intake
  • Convenience and recommendations help when opting to try somewhere new
  • This age group is active on Facebook, which means restaurants and cafes can use targeted ads and content to their advantage.

65+

  • Lunch is a key dining occasion for the 65+ age group, of which most enjoy traditional British fayre
  • Convenience is a key driver in where to eat, while those in this group are also happy to try somewhere new
  • Low social media usage means eateries must consider targeting the 65+ category on the premise itself, by way of relevant coupons or promos.

Recommendations

Managers, chefs and staff can all do their bit to ensure a pleasant and welcoming experience for diners – and not just at the point they walk through the door.

Here are some tips, using the information gleaned from our survey:

  • Make your website simple to find and navigate; it’s the shop window to the world, so consider everything from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), to an easily accessed and downloadable menu
  • Ensure your location is clear. Your customers want to know how to find you, so offer key information, such as bus routes or parking availability
  • Market healthy options. By clearly marking healthy or meat-free alternatives on your menu, you could well be encouraging repeat visits. Consumers are also trying to reduce their meat intake, so think about offering traditional meals with a meat-free twist, which could appeal to older consumers.
  • Use promotions wisely. Encourage young people and families to visit your restaurant by offering timely deals and money-off coupons. Younger consumers (18-25s) are most likely to visit somewhere new if they have a promotion to recoup. Families, meanwhile, will be more inclined to make a repeat visit if they have a promotional offer. If you are targeting these audiences, promotional offers should be a key tactic to encourage footfall.
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