Aligning Dining Patterns & Needstates

American Express provides restaurants with research-based analysis of key industry developments which is collected and analyzed by Technomic, Inc. Consumers were polled over a seven-day period and asked to describe their most recent restaurant occasion. While Technomic has recently released studies showing an increase in the snacking daypart, the majority of consumers that were polled reported their most recent restaurant occasion for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Dinner occasions were equally divided between weeknights and weekend nights, while lunch was more likely to be a weekday occasion. 60% of pollers who reported breakfast as their most recent occasion ate breakfast or brunch on the weekend.

As for takeout occasions, the poll showed that delivery occasions were twice as likely to have been a weekday purchase, of which 60% were for dinner and 30% for lunch. A very small percentage showed breakfast as their last restaurant takeout or delivery occasion. Consumers in the survey were also asked to estimate what percent of their restaurant occasions had been for each daypart in the past year. This led to some insights into generational differences; for example, while 12% of consumers aged 18-25 reported snacks or happy hour as their most substantial foodservice purchases, only 4% reported this for those 45 years or older.

Another part of the poll involved asking consumers to identify the needs or emotions they typically associated with each major daypart and weekpart.  While snacking and lunch were mainly associated with the basic need to satiate hunger, convenience was the biggest reason for consumers to use foodservice for weekday breakfast, weeknight dinner and even weekend lunch. Different dayparts showed to be more or less associated with different kinds of get togethers:  family get-togethers (weekend dinner) , friendly get-togethers (weekend dinner, happy hour) , and celebratory occasions (weekend breakfast). Other factors revealed in the poll were emotional needstates; for instance which occasions were associated with relaxing or as a treat/reward.

This data can be used to show operators the prime opportunities available to extend their daypart usage by meeting consumers’ needstates for each occasion. The data also shows where operators can get a competitive share for high-traffic meals or dayparts that are underutilized. Other business implications can be drawn from consumers’ ideas about what constitutes a ‘meal’ vs. a ‘snack.’ For example, offering items in various portion sizes and in a wider variety of combo options will satisfy a larger variety of needstates; offering lunch and dinner fare at the breakfast daypart can also help this.

To read more about the poll and the business implications that can be drawn from it, click here 



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