The restaurant industry has changed. Between a global pandemic, rising gas prices, and rampant inflation, that’s understandable. But what exactly is different, and what does it mean for your business?
That question deserves some serious research, which is why we commissioned the Rush Report, a comprehensive study of American dining habits and how they’ve changed. This blog series covers just some of the insights we uncovered. (For the full picture, download the report.)
- Cost Is Key — Squeezed by fluctuating gas prices and growing inflation, the majority of your customers have less money for eating out. That’s likely to have a tail effect coming into 2023. Restaurateurs need to prioritize value for money to attract and retain clientele.
- Location Is Everything — Local restaurants are close to customers’ hearts. Some of that is because of rising gas prices, and some is just logistics — people get food on the way home from work and don’t want to drive out of their way to try other options.
- Younger Customers Go Their Own Way — Younger customers (18-29) have significantly different tech preferences than other customers. They order out more, use social media to check out potential dining choices, and prefer ordering through apps and other online channels.
Let’s dive a little deeper into these takeaways.
Inflation Is Impacting 75% Of Your Customers // 75% Of Your Customers Are Struggling With Inflation // How To Appeal To Customers Who Are Value Conscious // How To Win Over Customers Who Are Spending Less & Less
Inflation hit 7.7% in October 2022, and the cost of eating out has also gone up by 7.7%. It’s little surprise, then, that 75% of our Rush Report respondents told us that inflation was having a significant effect on their dining habits.
It’s not just inflation. The price of gas has also become a burden, with 70% of Americans saying that rising gas prices have had a significant impact on their dining decisions. In fact, 27% of people are eating or ordering out less because they need to save money for gas.
Under these blows, most Americans have less purchasing power than before. Restaurants need long-term solutions for price sensitivity at a time when value means everything to your customers. They could offer deals on easily scalable dishes (i.e. those with cheaper main ingredients, like rice, soup, or fries) that give customers more value for their dollars, while remaining profitable for restauranteurs.
Location, Location, Location // 44% Of Customers Are Eating Closer To Home // Almost Half Of Americans Prefer To Eat Locally // Do You Know Why 44% Of Americans Are Staying Local?
Customers care where you’re located. It’s a key factor in making dining decisions — partly due to the fluctuating cost of gas in the United States, and partly out of convenience. Most people get food on the way home from work and won’t drive out of their way to do it.
But restaurants shouldn’t treat their location only as a way to gain foot traffic — they should get involved with the surrounding community. This could lead to loyal returning customers, because a whopping 80% of Americans say restaurants should play an active role in their local communities (through charity work, local events, etc.). Customers also prefer to eat at restaurants that source food locally.
Restaurateurs should adopt hyper-targeted local marketing and advertise their use of local ingredients. Small changes like this can help differentiate your business from rivals down the block.
79% Of Younger Customers Want To Use Tech To Order Food // Younger Customers Want To Use Tech To Order // Younger Customers Are Doing Things Differently. Here’s How To Reach Them
Younger customers (18-29) have been outliers throughout the entire Rush Report. Compared to other age groups, they:
- Order out and get delivery more frequently
- Rely on social media more for restaurant discovery and updates
- Prefer to use mobile and online ordering channels.
79% of younger customers want to use technology to place food orders. Not only do they prefer to use ordering technology (think QR, text, and mobile ordering), but 50% of them agree that such technology could help struggling restaurants with ongoing staff shortages.
When it comes to ordering channels, 65% of younger customers order food online. 62% use a phone, 51% through a restaurant’s app, and 38% through a third-party app. Restaurants that want to attract and retain younger customers should invest in their online ordering experience and first-party app.
Guess what — that’s something we can help you with.
Unlock Your Restaurant’s Potential // Don’t Get Left Behind // Here’s How HungerRush Can Help
The time to act is now. The triple threat of employee shortages, supply chain disruption, and rising inflation are still pressing.
Those who invest in restaurant technology will more easily attract customers, drive revenue, and stay ahead of the pack. Those that don’t may be left behind.
HungerRush has been helping restaurants get in front of the latest trends since 2003. Customers have placed more than 3 million orders on our platform — via white-label apps, text and voice ordering, and more. Curious about how HungerRush can help you?
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