Historically, supper is the meal that leads the restaurant industry out of a recession, but that won't be the case this time, according to a new study by market research firm The NPD Group. Supper is the restaurant industry's largest sales generator but has been the weakest performing meal period for the past decade, reports NPD.
Other dinner-depressing factors include the current economy, and also a more enduring belief that meals prepared at home are more nutritious, often taste better and have better controlled portions.
Riggs says supper visits have been cut back by all but the most mature age group. The heaviest restaurant supper customers – the 18-to-24 and 25-to-34 age groups – have cut back the most, dropping 13 visits per year, respectively, over the last eight years.
Riggs stressed that even before the current economic situation, consumers were shifting how they addressed their needs to feed themselves and their families at supper. She said this means restaurant owners should focus on influencing buying rate momentum and need to better understand what appeals to their target customers. "Through product and concept innovations, availability, understanding their consumers' value perceptions, right pricing, and targeted messaging, they can re-attract consumers to restaurants for supper," she said.
*Flickr photo by 27147.