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Upscale Restaurant Visits Decline Alongside Alcohol Consumption

CHICAGO (March 7, 2012)—With consumer demand for upscale dining remaining weak and restaurant consumers managing their check when they do visit, beverage alcohol consumption has softened at casual and fine dining restaurants, according to The NPD Group. Thirty-six percent of consumers ordered alcohol away-from-home in the last three months based on findings from NPD’s recently released Beverage Alcohol Report (BAR), which profiles habits, attitudes, and brand preferences for on-premise beverage alcohol consumption. The majority of upscale restaurant consumers order non-alcoholic beverages and an increasing amount of free tap water.

Visits to upscale restaurants declined by -2 percent but beverage alcohol servings at casual and fine dining restaurants are down only by -1 percent for year ending November 2011 compared to same period year ago, reports NPD. Most of the beverage alcohol servings losses came from younger consumers, ages 21 to 34, while those 35 and older increased their orders of alcoholic beverages.

Key motivations for visiting a place that serves alcohol are atmosphere, food, convenient location, and price, according to NPD’s Beverage Alcohol Report (BAR): Understanding What Motivates On-Premise Beverage Alcohol Choices. Other reasons for choosing a place that serves beverage alcohol include serving alcohol that is a good value; place suits customer’s personality; attentive staff; and stocking the preferred brand of alcohol, according to the NPD report, which profiles habits, attitudes, and brand preferences for on-premise beverage alcohol consumption.

Source: The NPD Group/Beverage Alcohol Report, March 2012

“Beverage alcohol remains an important factor in the upscale restaurant dining experience,” says Warren Solochek, vice president, foodservice at NPD. “Upscale restaurant operators just need to keep in mind that their beverage alcohol consumers want to manage their spending and pay reasonable prices.”

 

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