Consumer Trends

Value-driven combo meals more popular outside the U.S.

Restaurant customers in Latin America are the biggest purchasers of combo meals, according to Technomic.
combo meal
Value-priced combo meals are more of a draw in certain parts of the world than others. |Photo: Shutterstock.

Restaurants around the world try to lure customers with meal deals at a value price. But those combo meals that include an entree and/or side and beverage are more of a lure in some countries than others.

Latin American consumers are the most enthusiastic about combo meals, according to Technomic’s Global Service Navigator Program. In a survey of more than 4,300 global consumers, 82% of those in Latin American countries say these meal deals have a significant impact in decisions about where to eat.

On the other hand, only 58% of U.S. and Canadian restaurant customers place a high importance on combo meals.

Coming in behind Latin America is the Middle East, where 78% see combo meals as a draw.

While Asia markets collectively notch average interest in combo meals, the Philippines is the global leader at 90%.

By contrast, at just over half of all consumers, the U.K., South Korea and Japan round out the bottom three markets. In Japan, this may be due to the widespread popularity of teishoku (often translated as “set meal”), a traditional menu option generally consisting of rice, soup, a protein and pickled vegetables.

Combo meals seem to be losing a bit of their groove in the U.S. as fast-food chains including Subway, Burger King and McDonald’s, have started to tout quality and menu differentiation over price. Value-driven combo meals are still an enticement for certain customers, and price continues to be a motivator, but some Americans are defining value in terms of elevated ingredients and preparations. 

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