According to a new survey from Technomic, nearly half (49 percent) of parents said they visit family-style restaurants at least once a week. However, even though parents and kids are the primary target audience for these concepts, data shows there are many opportunities to boost traffic and sales from Millennial and single Hispanic consumers as well.

"Family-style restaurants are well-known for attributes that are highly applicable to the family-dining occasion — namely friendly service, a welcoming atmosphere and amenities that appeal specifically to parents dining with children," said Darren Tristano, vice president of Technomic. "But it's also vital for these operators to leverage the importance of affordability, menu craveability and appealing comfort foods in order to attract a broader customer base."

According to Technomic's Family-Style Restaurant Consumer Trend Report:

  • Forty-five percent of Millennials and 57 percent of Hispanic consumers say they visit family-style restaurants once a week, compared to just 41 percent of all consumers polled;
  • Affordability, cravings and comfort foods drive visits: 69 percent of consumers say they are likely to visit family-style concepts when seeking sit-down meals at an affordable price, and roughly half say they'd visit when craving certain menu items (54 percent) or when seeking comfort food (45 percent);
  • Amenities that make the dining experience easier for moms in particular are likely to be well-received at family-style restaurants;
  • 50 percent of moms, and 34 percent of dads, say toys and games for children are highly appealing at these locations;
  • Healthy kids' options are more important than expansive kids' menus. More than half of parents (56 percent) place high importance on healthy options, compared to just half of consumers who say expansive menus for young children, tweens and teens are important;Fresh descriptions resonate with family-style consumers;
  • 61 percent of consumers would pay more for items described as fresh, compared to two-fifths of consumers who are willing to pay a premium for other leading health call-outs, such as seasonal, natural, low fat, low calorie and more; and
  • About half of consumers (48 percent) polled say they would be very likely to try new or unique items or flavors at family-style restaurants. Ethnic items are one way to add new flavors; three out of 10 consumers say they would like family-style restaurants to offer a wider variety of ethnic items.

Read more about restaurant trends.

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