Whether dining out or dining at home, here’s what people want

As dining priorities continue to shift, grocery and restaurant brands must better understand what consumers are looking for in their dining experiences today.

The author(s)

  • Sarah Lehman Vice President, Channel Performance
  • Ali Yorra Director, US Channel Performance
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New Ipsos research shows that about three-quarters of Americans say they have been spending more on food to cook at home and less on experiences like travel and dining out in the last six months. Among families with children in the household, this figure jumps to 84%. Middle-aged Americans aged 35 to 54 are also more likely to be cooking at home (80%), as are households making less than $50k annually (78%).

Ipsos shares tips to help marketers connect with consumers, whether a restaurant or grocery brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • 73% of Americans have found themselves cooking at home more in the past six months, while 31% say they are dining out more.
  • Whether dining at home or in a restaurant, people are looking to get the best value for their money and to spend quality time with friends and family.
  • At-home diners are especially focused on the value piece and are also looking for healthier options.
  • Restaurant diners are more likely to be looking to try something new and to get a meal quickly and easily.
  • Ensuring brand promises are in line with consumer desires and consistently kept at the frontline is essential to the success of both grocery and restaurant brands.

Americans’ dining behaviors and desires have changed significantly over the past several years, as the world was upended by COVID and inflation. We’ve seen dining-out opportunities decrease to nothing during the pandemic, increase as restrictions were loosened, and then decrease again as inflation and rising prices have become a concern. Amid all this, we’ve seen a renewed focus on grocery offerings, with retailers and consumers alike becoming more inventive in creating unique at-home dining experiences.

As dining priorities continue to shift, grocery and restaurant brands must better understand what consumers are looking for in their dining experiences today.

About three-quarters of Americans say they have been spending more on food to cook at home and less on experiences like travel and dining out in the last six months. Among families with children in the household, this figure jumps to 84%. Middle-aged Americans aged 35 to 54 are also more likely to be cooking at home (80%), as are households making less than $50k annually (78%).

Regardless of whether they’re spending more on food to cook at home, people generally say they’re spending less on dining out and traveling. About two-thirds of people in the U.S. say they are spending less on these experiences in the past six months.

Chart depicting the most important factors to an enjoyable dining experience.

Whether dining at home or dining out, what are people looking for in their experience? We found most are looking to spend time with friends and family (52%) and get the most value for their money (45%). Delivering on these two elements will promote trial and return for both grocery brands and restaurant brands alike.

Much less important are factors like having a meal that is popular (5%) and dining for the entertainment value (9%). Over-investing in trends, flash, and glamor are less likely to provide a strong return in the dining space at this time.

It’s important that brands get their offering right and consistently deliver on their brand promises, whether you are a restaurant looking to surprise and delight your speed- and ease-driven consumers or a grocery brand looking to build on your good-for-you and better-for-you options. The Channel Performance team at Ipsos can help inform these strategic decisions as well as check to be sure experiences are consistent end-to-end and from location-to-location. Our team uses geolocation intercepts to gauge the satisfaction of individual customers in real time and covert auditors to ensure brand standards are upheld in each and every location. Contact us for more information on how we can help your brand succeed.

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The author(s)

  • Sarah Lehman Vice President, Channel Performance
  • Ali Yorra Director, US Channel Performance

Customer Experience