If anything is certain, it’s that consumer trends and demographics are changing, driven by technology, a greater knowlege about food, and migration patterns. Here are a few consumer updates from 2016’s Restaurant Leadership Conference.
1. Third-party delivery is rubber, and you’re glue.
Partnering with third-party delivery is risky business. According to Technomic, 55 percent of customers place blame on the restaurant for the follies of outsourced delivery services.
2. It’s more than a Southern food revival.
“The South is the only region where every demographic is moving to the area in greater numbers than they are leaving,” says Jim Johnson, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at University of North Carolina. In every decade since the ’70s, the South has captured 50 percent of the nation’s overall growth. However, it’s not the whole South. Migration is concentrated in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and, increasingly, Virginia.
3. Will Hispanics be the new millennials?
Out of 61 billion restaurant visits in 2015, nearly 20 percent came from the Hispanic community, according to Univision. The group is also more likely to visit major chain restaurants. Kids often play a critical role in Hispanic dining experiences, with 42 percent of Hispanic restaurant visits including kids, compared to only 30 percent for non-Hispanics.
4. Consumers crave action-packed dining.
“No matter how comfortable and nicely we have designed our dining room, we found people want to be where the most action is happening,” says Dolf Berle, president and COO of Dave and Buster’s. The chain shifted to a sports-centric venue with large TVs to attract more consumers. “They want new things, new experiences to share via social media,” Berle says.