- New research from facility management company Vixxo finds that two in three Americans (62%) still prefer to dine in versus ordering takeout or delivery (34%). The findings were consistent across all demographics, according to a news release.
- When selecting a restaurant, consumers are most swayed by food quality (46%) and consistency (39%), the research finds. Further, 51% of consumers choose a restaurant based on the menu, while 38% choose a restaurant because of its experience, including employees and atmosphere.
- The research also finds that a good dining experience matters more than ever because consumers are dining out more and spending more. Fifty-six percent of Americans dine out at least once or twice a week, while 47% order delivery with the same frequency.
These results perhaps show why consumers prefer dine-in — two of their biggest considerations for choosing a dining option are food quality, which can be compromised during delivery, and affordability, which also favors dine-in because of steep delivery fees and tip.
However, considering the increasing demand for conveniences like delivery and digital ordering, there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between what consumers are saying they want versus their actual behaviors. Digital orders alone are projected to triple by the end of next year, for example.
Further, digitally-driven chains like Chipotle and Wingstop are also doing exceptionally well, and brands like Starbucks and Chopt are opening pickup-and delivery-only locations. The demand for convenience is also why off-premise sales now make up 60% of sales across the industry, according to the National Restaurant Association.
That's not to say consumers don't want unique experiences, however. Performances by experience-focused concepts like Cooper's Hawk and Main Event alone reflect this. In fact, 67% of consumers report their standards for experiences are higher than ever, according to Salesforce research.
Brands that are able to achieve both convenience and good experience are likely to have an advantage. Chick-fil-A, for example, has a "Mom's Valet" service and a new dine-in mobile ordering feature via its app for those seeking convenience. It also hosts events like Family Craft Night for those craving experiences.
Still, even if a brand is able to marry convenience and experience, quality is what wins at the end of the day, and by far.
"For restaurant owners, the data underscores the importance of a consistently positive customer experience for increasing both customer traffic and sales," Matt Brown, chief revenue officer of Vixxo, said in the release. "Whether they dine in or carry out, guests notice when the quality of the food, from the temperature to the taste, are inconsistent. In fact, quality impacts the entire dining experience.”