table side image of place settings at a fine dining restaurant

3 Factors Consumers Consider When Choosing Where to Dine

Consumers are no longer lured to a restaurant based on food or location alone, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Denver Daniels College of Business.

The study, “Revenue management, hedonic pricing models and the effects of operational attributes,” found that consumers more heavily way restaurant ambience and attentive service ahead of food quality or location, especially in fine dining restaurants.

Research showed that consumers take three main attributes, food quality, ambience, and service, into consideration when choosing where to dine, in addition to having a convenient location. And, that these characteristics are weighed differently by consumers depending on the type of cuisine. For example, consumers would be willing to pay more for a type of cuisine they perceive to be more labor intensive than another type of cuisine. This might be why you would spend more on dining at a French restaurant, versus ordering Chinese.

What does this mean for your restaurant?

Depending on your restaurant concept, consumer expectations of price or quality may more heavily influence their decision to dine.

Do you operate a high-end restaurant? Food quality is still key, but the overall diner experience may play a more important role in their decision to rate a restaurant more favorably.

Manage a quick service or fast casual establishment? Make sure you weigh convenience as well as price-point when trying to attract diners. Having the lowest price may negatively impact consumer perceptions, whereas, supplementing a higher price with experiential details may support your growth.

How can you leverage these trends to stay competitive?

Ultimately, creating the best experience for your diners comes down to how well you know who are your best customers. Whether it’s real estate, marketing or operations, you can leverage customer analytics insights to feed your business. Armed with customer analytics knowledge you can:

  • Enhance your marketing to emphasize your restaurant key differentiators that will appeal to the tastes of your ideal customers.
  • Considering expansion? Learn where your most likely customers are located and find the best sites in a convenient location to attract more customers like them.
  • Optimize operations at existing locations by evaluating customer preferences and creating a dining experience that will exceed their expectations, no matter how diners rate your restaurant.

Learn more about how to  leverage food trends to reach more customers in our latest report, “Fast, Fresh and Functional: Leverage Food Trends to Better Target Customers.”

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