The August 2009 NRA expectations Index reported that “45 percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months.” Whether that prediction comes true remains to be seen. But this year’s crop of new products puts the emphasis on helping operators maximize every dollar.
Customers will pay more for better atmosphere
Patrons may grumble when restaurants raise food prices, but they seem willing to spend more for better service. According to a survey of 500 consumers from American Express MarketBriefing, diners would spend more money for pleasant atmosphere, cleanliness and friendly staff than they would for healthier menu items or freshly baked bread.
After a 4% decline in 2009 and another 3% decline in 2010, lunch daypart sales are set to rebound 2% to $114 billion in 2011. Unemployment and the economic slump caused budget-conscious consumers to cut back on lunch spending in restaurants, but creative marketing and unique offers are spurring them to come back.