Techmonic's new report, "Menu Positioning and Occasion Driver Consumer Trend," outlines consumer behavior and preferences regarding dining occasions.

The report concludes a variety of reasons consumers choose to eat away from home, and offers ideas on how restaurants can understand the most significant visit drivers to tweak operations for more incremental business.

Some of the report's findings include:

  • 70 percent of consumers say they order shareable meals so they can try more than one item on the menu;
  • Although most convenience-driven meal occasions are for takeout or delivery (58 percent), two-fifths are for dine-in (42 percent), indicating that speed of service is also a key factor for dine-in occasions;
  • Cravings are strong foodservice purchase drivers; 50 percent of all consumers' and 59 percent of younger males' (aged 18-24) foodservice occasions are driven by cravings;
  • 55 percent of consumers look for combo meals when seeking strong overall value for their money at restaurants and other foodservice locations;
  • More than any other factor, 69 percent of consumers report that dining with friends contributes to a fun, exciting restaurant experience; and
  • When having a regular meal with family or friends, nearly three-fifths of consumers (58 percent) prefer comfort foods.

"We see a strong relationship between different consumer dining occasions and the reengineering of operators' menus," said Darren Tristano, vice president of Technomic. "We've identified several distinct dining occasions and they're directly influenced by consumer needs and industry trends. As operators and suppliers recognize how these occasions differ, they can spot opportunities to not only reposition menu offerings, but to update and revamp service elements, in order to meet the direct needs of customers for each occasion and gain valuable foodservice dollars."

Read more about trends and statistics.

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