A recent national survey of 3,100 consumers found more are substituting fine dining with fast-casual restaurants close to home.
The switch, found by consulting firm Consumer Edge Insight, is done more often as consumers cut restaurant budgets and search for a better value. The survey found many of the respondents chose to pass on restaurants priced in the middle range, selecting fast-casual restaurants or pizza over fine dining and casual restaurants.
According to Restaurant News about 60 percent of survey participants said they have traded down to less expensive dining options, while another 55 percent said they order less expensive items on restaurant menus and 51 percent take advantage of dining discounts or promotions.
While casual-dining restaurants are losing business from those downgrading from fine dining, the survey found the mid-priced restaurants are picking up business from those who are tired of fast food.
David Decker, president of Consumer Edge Insight, says one reason casual-dining restaurants are losing business could be a lack of promotion. He suggests the mid-priced restaurants could reach a wide audience with a few menu changes and new price points.
“Casual-dining operators have to figure out how to establish their relevance for the fine-dining customer with a trade-down mindset,” Decker told Restaurant News.