Deal site LivingSocial’s first national “Dining Out” survey finds that 45 percent of Americans describe themselves as “meat lovers” and five percent say they are vegetarians or vegans. So what do the remaining 50 percent—that’s 156 million people—who fall in the middle of this meat/no meat spectrum want to eat? Survey results broken down by the top 20 markets answer this question and more.
LivingSocial contracted with an outside survey research firm for its study of U.S. dining habits. That firm, Mandala Research, went with a 4,000-person sample comprised of consumers 18 years of age or above who had made a purchase online in the past six months or said they were going to make one in the next six months.
Top line findings include the promising results that the average American eats 4.8 meals per week (249 total meals per year) in restaurants, a number that includes dining in and carry out meal occasions. Lunch is the most popular daypart with consumers, who on average eat 2.6 lunches (both carryout and dining in) each week. Sit-down dining occasions average per 1.4 week, while brunch/breakfast came in at .8 per person per week. The top “new cuisine” survey respondents had actually tried: Thai.
Restaurant operators might find more actionable information in the fact sheets that break out the results for the top 20 media markets in the country.
The data for Boston, for example, shows that diners there lead the nation in willingness to try new tapas items, and Beantown ranks only behind New York and San Francisco in the percentage of respondents who describe themselves as foodies.
Orlando finished in the top three cities for eating out at Italian, steak, pizza and Spanish restaurants. Only two percent of residents there describe themselves as vegetarians or vegans.
There is much more detailed information on each city’s fact sheets, which you can find at: http://livingsocial.com/press/LivingSocial_Dining_Out_Survey_Findings.pptx. It’s a Power Point file, so you’ll need that software to open it.
We’d suggest you take a look at your town’s numbers, or the numbers of a town into which you’re thinking about expanding. The fact sheets also show the three top-selling LivingSocial restaurant deals for each market—competitive information that may be helpful to some operations.
“As a leader in local commerce, LivingSocial has its finger on the pulse of the hottest trends in more than 575 markets worldwide,” says LivingSocial local trend expert Amy Wolf. “The Dining Out survey gives us additional insight into local markets so that we can not only continue to bring our members great values on the deals they want, but also help merchants determine the deals that will be most successful for their business.”
This survey doesn’t necessarily give you definitive information on your market. But it offers more than a few indicators about directions in which your restaurant and its menu might want to go. Check it out.