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Beverage

Fast-casual consumers under the influence

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Despite the complexity of offering adult beverages, fast-casual operators might find it’s worth the effort. The warm feelings that beer, wine and spirits can create may extend to customers’ attitudes about the dining experience overall. So finds a 2015 wrapup of data from Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics study.

Visitors to eight out of the 31 fast-casual brands tracked said they had an adult beverage on their most recent visit. Imbibers make up a small portion of fast-casual users overall—just 2 percent—but they were more likely to be satisfied with their visit. While 93 percent of teetotaling fast-casual visitors said their visit was good or excellent, 97 percent of those who had an adult beverage did.

Adult beverages may enhance loyalty as well. Those who had drinks are more likely to say they would return to or recommend the fast-casual chain they visited.

“I will ___ this restaurant” (% who strongly agree)

 All FCR visitorsHad an adult beverageBeerWine Spirits
Return to39%44%45%41%46%
Recommend34%41%42%41%43%

Source: Consumer Brand Metrics (Q1 2015 – Q4 2015), Technomic Inc.

Those who had spirits show the most loyalty, perhaps because cocktails are a point of differentiation at fast casuals, few of which offer alcohol beverages beyond beer and wine. Consumers aren’t as likely to whip up a mixed drink at home, so that margarita or spiked milkshake may add to the overall experience.

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