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Consumer Trends

Meal deals may not be obvious, study finds

Widespread discounting has conditioned restaurant customers to hunt for deals, but price isn’t always what lands the bargain chasers’ business, according to a new report from Technomic.

The sales clinchers can also be menu or service cues that have little if anything to do with price, the researcher found in investigating consumers’ definition of value.

For instance, about half of the study participants said the ability to customize their meals is “important” or “extremely important” when they’re looking for value.

Menu descriptors such as “fresh” and “premium” are viewed by a large proportion of consumers as cues that an item could or should be higher priced, according to the data.

No matter how value is defined, deal hunting is ingrained in today’s consumer, Technomic concluded.

"Our data confirms many general perceptions about value, including the importance of low prices, but that's certainly not where the story ends," said Darren Tristano, Technomic’s executive vice president.

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