Retail Foodservice

Why Consumers Eat Out: Dissecting the Value Equation

A look at consumer perceptions for what makes dining-out occasions worthwhile

Value plays a major role in dining decisions, in part because getting good value is often how consumers justify eating out. While the idea of value is subjective, consumers commonly define good value at restaurants in terms of getting a fair price for generous portions of great-tasting, quality food.

As labor and food costs continue to drive menu prices up, expect restaurants to focus more on value that is driven by service, quality and convenience.

The Value Equation

Food and cost are top aspects of value, but service and atmosphere still play a considerable role.

This attribute hierarchy is similar across all segments measured. While consumer expectations for these factors change depending on the segment, their overall importance in the value equation generally does not.

Influence of Attributes on the Value Equation

Creating Value

The importance of taste and flavor signals that craveability is strongly tied to value. More younger consumers than older ones say customization and uniqueness create value, as younger consumers tend to drive demand for innovation.

Healthfulness is not a top priority in terms of value creation, but it can be a traffic driver because consumers increasingly seek healthier options from foodservice.

Food and Beverage Attributes That Create Value

Unmet Needs

While cost and food weigh most heavily in the value equation, service is top of mind among consumers who were asked about ways in which restaurants can provide them with better value moving forward.

Requests for both friendlier and faster service were often mentioned, suggesting foodservice operators need to zero in on making sure their staff provide attentive service with a smile. At the end of the day, consumers simply want to be welcomed and feel like the staff appreciates their visit.

Services and Amenities That Create Value


With automation on the rise, the human element will play a more prominent role in the value equation. Less human interaction means the face-to-face interactions that do occur will become even more important. Having staff on hand to assist with newly implemented ordering tech can help to ensure consumers don’t feel alienated, and greeting guests with a smile and thanking them for their visit is sure to go a long way toward delivering a welcoming and friendly environment.



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