For younger diners, in particular, convenience factors may be as important as value when it comes to choosing a restaurant, according to a new Mintel report.
More than half of younger adults rank a restaurant's proximity to their workplace as very important/important when selecting where to dine: 62% of those 25 to 34 and 55% of those 18 to 24, compared to 41% of overall respondents.
The ability to order online ahead of time is also considered key (cited by 31% of those 25 to 34 and 24% of those 18 to 24, versus 19% overall).
Extended hours (i.e., late-night) and speed of service also rank high in the restaurant selection processes of younger diners.
While 43% of total respondents reported having reduced spending on delivery and take-out last year, about one in six of those 18-34 reported actually spending more on these convenient services compared to 2008. In the past three months, those 18-34 were twice as likely as the general population to have ordered delivery. Furthermore, about 30% of these respondents picked up food from a restaurant, compared to 20% of overall respondents.
Nearly half (49%) of those 25-34 say that they dine at casual restaurants because they're too tired to cook, while 40% do so because they have no time to prepare a meal. (This compares to 40% and 30% of all respondents, respectively.)
While value remains critical, "Young adults and young families, especially, are pressed for time, making restaurants an easy and often necessary solution for meals," sums up Mintel senior analyst Chris Haack. "As foodservice establishments struggle for revenue, improving convenience may help them get diners in the door."
At the same time, special occasions, food quality and socialization also continue to be top reasons for restaurant-going among younger adults.
"Restaurant usage is truly integrated into the lifestyles of adults under age 34," observes Haack. "Many value the fact that they can get quality food with minimal effort at a restaurant. As a bonus, they can spend that meal time with friends or family."