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National Restaurant Association - 5 traits of the new American diner

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5 traits of the new American diner

Your typical restaurant guest is no longer the Average Joe or Jane of 20 years ago. Today’s diner is more interested in food sourcing, production and sustainability than ever before, and they have specific dietary expectations. To keep up with new demand, restaurant operators are diversifying menus to include healthful dishes, snacks, seasonal items, ethnic options, and more.

Our new Restaurant Industry Forecast identifies what consumers are looking for. Get details in the full report.

Here’s a profile of the American Foodie 2.0:

Values quality over quantity


Guests today would rather spend money on experience-based activities, such as like dining out, rather than physical things.

Open to new culinary experiences


The typical restaurant guest has high expectations of the dining experience, including the quality of the food, how it’s made and what’s in it. Most operators say guests are more knowledgeable about food, more adventurous in their food choices and pay more attention to food quality now than they used to be.

Wants to save the planet


Many consumers choose restaurants because of their eco-friendly practices, such as water conservation and recycling. Diners also consider organic and eco-friendly food in their dining decisions, especially women. And many consumers would pick a restaurant with eco-friendly offerings over one that doesn’t. Restaurateurs have taken notice: Most believe guests are more aware of sustainable food than two years ago.

Watches the waistline … and ingredients


Operators say guests pay attention more attention to nutrition content than they used to. And that’s not all: Their customers are more interested in gluten-free, low-carb, vegetarian, and other items that meet specific dietary preferences.

Traveling the globe, one tapa at a time


Today’s consumers are generally more willing to try new foods and expand their taste buds than previous generations. They’re trying a wider variety of ethnic cuisine than they used to including foods considered unconventional by American standards. And operators recognize guests’ tastes are more global today, particularly in fast casual and casual dining.

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