In recent years, diners have been choosing to take out meals or eat at home, but a recent study from The NPD Group shows the tides are changing. Consumers are enjoying more meals at restaurants as sit down traffic has grown 2 percent in 2014, in addition to 1-percent growth in 2013. Dine-in visits currently account for 39 percent of industry traffic and generate more than $233 billion dollars a year. For years there has been growth in the take out segment, which offers lower profit potential to restaurants as NPD analyst Bonnie Riggs told Nation’s Restaurant News “When you dine in the restaurant sales are much higher, you order more items”
One reason for dine-in growth is that restaurants are taking into account customer’s wants and taking the time to understand their target demographic. One industry spotlight of this is the national fondue chain, The Melting Pot. The chain began hosting focus groups with current and past consumers who gave much insight to the wants of their target market. Through these groups they found out that the restaurant was being used mostly for specialty occasions and consumers wanted a more approachable venue that they could frequent more often. By using the consumer feedback the Melting Pot made radical changes to their menu and operations that resulted in increased sales in 2014.
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