For consumers, choosing where to eat is a complex decision. Today’s diners are concerned about the quality of the food they’re eating, but they’re also looking at factors beyond food, like technology and a restaurant’s environmental impact.
Here are seven things consumers take into account when choosing a restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast:
Healthier options: More diners are looking for healthful options when they dine out, and restaurants are responding to that demand. More than eight in 10 restaurants say their guests are paying more attention to the nutrition content of their food today than they were two years ago. Diners are also seeing more options from restaurants, and 81 percent of adults say restaurants offer more healthful options than they did two years ago.
Eco-friendly dining: When they choose a restaurant, many consumers are thinking about the earth as much as their palates. Nearly two-thirds of consumers say they’re likely to consider a restaurant’s eco-friendly practices when they decide where to eat.
Technology: The number of consumers who say technology options like smartphone apps or self-service kiosks are an important factor in choosing restaurants is on the rise, up to about 25 percent from roughly 20 percent a year ago. The increase spans generations, with older and younger customers alike expanding their use.
Quality, innovative food: Nine out of 10 consumers say food quality is an important factor in choosing a restaurant, and six in 10 claim to be more adventurous diners than they were two years ago. More than half are looking for innovative meals that they can’t make at home.
Local foods: Locally sourced meats and seafood and produce were near the top of the list of the NRA’s Top 25 lists of 2015 tableservice and limited-service menu trends. Find out what else is on the list, including trends in breakfast, appetizers, desserts and classic favorites.
Ethnic cuisine: When diners crave ethnic foods, odds are they’re heading for a restaurant. More than two-thirds of consumers say they’re more likely to order ethnic foods at a restaurant rather than trying to cook it at home.
Mobile options: More consumers are buying from food trucks. This year, 47 percent reported patronizing a food truck, up from 40 percent last year. And 70 percent of all adults say they’d buy from a food truck if their favorite restaurant had one.
What’s ahead for restaurants in 2015? Get your copy of the NRA’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast.