When dining out, a majority of consumers order seafood dishes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Acosta, a global provider of integrated sales and marketing services to the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, today released its fifth edition of The why ? behind dinner, the company’s first research report providing restaurant-specific insights since its acquisition of CORE Group in June 2021.

Acosta’s research, bolstered by the combined resources and expertise of its new division, CORE Foodservice, reveals that many consumers are now making (27%) or eating behind the wheel (23%) more than they used to. before the pandemic, as motivation to cook at home wanes.

“It’s no secret that COVID-19 has upended the restaurant business, but the industry is expected to rebound in the next three to four years,” said CORE Foodservice CEO John Goodman. “Research from Technomic indicates that restaurants and bars are set to recover as early as 2024, driven in large part by increased diner interest in finding high-quality, safe and cost-effective alternatives to home-cooked meals. The road to recovery will be difficult, however, as restaurants now face significant operational challenges caused by widespread labor shortages and rising food prices.

Acosta’s research provides in-depth insights into consumer dining behaviors and breaks down the COVID-19 challenges currently affecting the restaurant industry.

Consumer preferences for restaurants

  • More than half of consumers (51%) say they go out to eat when they don’t feel like cooking. Most of those who eat out do so at least twice a month (60-70%).
    • Eighty-two percent of consumers say they seek out restaurants that offer a wide variety of dining options.
    • Eighty-two percent of consumers say they are interested in trying new items at the restaurant.
    • Eighty-one percent of consumers say they often choose items on sale at restaurants.
  • When dining out, a majority of consumers order seafood dishes (35%). When ordering takeout, most stick to classics like pizza and breadsticks (69%).

New Culinary Experiences

  • Seventy-five percent of shoppers say they’ve recently eaten takeout, dined out, and/or eaten prepared meals at the grocery store. When ordering, consumers are increasingly interested in experiential dining options.
    • Twenty-eight percent of shoppers say they have recently ordered from a food truck.
    • Twenty-three percent of shoppers say they’ve recently ordered from a pop-up restaurant.
    • Nineteen percent of shoppers say they’ve recently ordered from a ghost kitchen.

Culinary habits changed by the pandemic

  • Consumers’ overall dining experiences have changed due to the pandemic.
    • Fifty-three percent of consumers eat less at restaurants.
    • Twenty-seven percent of consumers are ordering more takeout.
    • Twenty-three percent of consumers are eating more while driving.
  • About half of consumers say they feel more comfortable eating out now that vaccines are readily available, but as COVID-19 infections continue to rise, nearly 50% of shoppers say they will either stop going out to eat completely or switch to transportation or delivery. . Twenty-three percent of shoppers say they will dine regardless.

Restaurant Industry Challenges

  • Restaurants are currently facing challenges caused by the pandemic, including labor shortages and continued demand for safety protocols. More than half of diners say they want COVID-19 safety precautions maintained in restaurants, including mask requirements for kitchen and wait staff.
    • Seventy-five percent of diners want tamper-evident or security-sealed packaging when ordering takeout or delivery.
    • Thirty-two percent of diners want single-serve condiments.
    • Twenty-nine percent of diners want plastic-wrapped utensils.
  • Rising food prices are also a concern for restaurants and consumers, with 44% of diners noticing higher menu prices.

from Acosta The why ? behind dinner The report was collected via online surveys using the company’s proprietary buyer community, conducted between August 1, 2021 and August 6, 2021.

About Acosta
Acosta is an integrated sales and marketing service provider that enables consumer packaged goods brands and retailers to win in the modern marketplace by delivering progressive solutions and exceptional service. With over 90 years of experience, Acosta understands changing consumer needs and helps customers stay ahead of the curve, fueling their accelerated performance. For more information, visit https://www.acosta.com/.

About CORE Foodservice
CORE Foodservice is a reimagined foodservice sales agency focused on providing solutions for the industry’s new operating environment. Launched by Acosta in 2021 following the acquisition of The Core Group, CORE Foodservice delivers industry-leading capabilities, creating a strategically resourced organization designed to meet the demands of changing customer behaviors and expectations. For more information, please visit https://corefoodservice.com/.

Dino S. Williams