The calculator jockeys back in Finance are in their glory this week. We’re not only in the home stretch of tax mania, but also at the start of the new baseball season, when the stats-minded can tell us how many right-handed infielders sock home runs after eating a double cheeseburger at Wendy’s on a Tuesday night.
This week’s collection of head turners shows the pocket-protector set hasn’t overlooked restaurant industry tabulations. Here are some bean-spinning metrics that came to light in recent days.
1. Chipotle is still deep in it
The new executive team at Chipotle Mexican Grill was poked with two sharp sticks this week, statistically speaking. First, as we reported, a new Harris Poll report verifies the brand has slipped precipitously in consumer’s esteem. They now hold conventional feeders such as McDonald’s in higher regard overall.
But more neck-twisting was the proof generated by a report specifically on why consumers are forsaking the brand for other restaurant choices. About a third of “light users” and noncustomers say they no longer fancy one of Chipotle’s bowls or burritos because they’re afraid of being poisoned, according to a UBS Evidence Lab survey.
The canvass provided some directional information about how Chipotle could woo those worriers: drop prices. That recommendation was provided by about a third of respondents, making it the strongest suggestion by far.
The most alarming finding for Chipotle’s new C-suite: 22% of respondents said there’s nothing the burrito chain can do to draw more frequent visits.
2. A shift in millennials’ giveback sensibilities?
Conventional wisdom holds that millennial consumers want to frequent restaurant brands with a clearly stated social mission. But a new study suggests the finicky generation may be losing its appreciation for marketing that goes as far as suggesting they join those do-good programs.
“Millennial viewers reported a weaker emotional connection with ads that pushed for personal action,” researcher Ace Metrix said in releasing new data Thursday on advertising effectiveness, its area of expertise. “It seems these viewers do not want their brands to hold them accountable for the world’s problems.”
The report verified that consumers still prefer a brand whose inferred or stated values align with theirs. They just don’t want to be told to do something about those principles, according to Ace.
3. How opioids are complicating restaurateurs’ lives
As if the labor pool wasn’t shallow enough, a new federal statistic shows how it’s being further drained, very dramatically, by the epidemic scale of opioid abuse.
A survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 20% of the men who are opting out of the labor market at the peak of their hireability are doing so because of drug use. And they’re finding plenty of company: 44% of non-job-seeking males aged 25 to 54 reported consuming pain medicine on the day before the survey.
4. What’s in restaurants’ Easter basket
The bad news is that spending on Easter festivities will slip a hair this year, to a total of $184 billion, or about $150 per celebrant, according to the National Retail Federation. About $5.7 billion will be spent on food, but that’s for home cooking as well as dining out.
The good news: 17% of revelers intend to commemorate the holiday by eating in a restaurant.